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Max Planck quotes (showing 1-23 of 23)

“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”
Max Planck, Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”
Max Planck, Where is Science Going?
“It is not the possession of truth, but the success which attends the seeking after it, that enriches the seeker and brings happiness to him.”
Max Planck, Where is Science Going?
“Science advances one funeral at a time.”
Max Planck
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
Max Planck
“An experiment is a question which science poses to Nature and a measurement is the recording of Nature's answer.”
Max Planck, Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers
“New scientific ideas never spring from a communal body, however organized, but rather from the head of an individually inspired researcher who struggles with his problems in lonely thought and unites all his thought on one single point which is his whole world for the moment.”
Max Planck
“The assumption of an absolute determinism is the essential foundation of every scientific enquiry.”
Max Planck, The Dilemmas of an Upright Man: Max Planck and the Fortunes of German Science
“All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together.
We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”
Max Planck
“Experiment is the only means of knowledge at our disposal. Everything else is poetry, imagination.”
Max Planck
“The highest court is in the end one’s own conscience and conviction—that goes for you and for Einstein and every other physicist—and before any science there is first of all belief.”
Max Planck, The Dilemmas of an Upright Man: Max Planck and the Fortunes of German Science
“This is one of man's oldest riddles. How can the independence of human volition be harmonized with the fact that we are integral parts of a universe which is subject to the rigid order of nature's laws?”
Max Planck, Where is Science Going?
“Science…means unresting endeavor and continually progressing development toward an aim which the poetic intuition may apprehend, but the intellect can never fully grasp.”
Max Planck
“Science enhances the moral value of life, because it furthers a love of truth and reverence—love of truth displaying itself in the constant endeavor to arrive at a more exact knowledge of the world of mind and matter around us, and reverence, because every advance in knowledge brings us face to face with the mystery of our own being.”
Max Planck, Where is Science Going?
“We have no right to assume that any physical laws exist, or if they have existed up to now, that they will continue to exist in a similar manner in the future.”
Max Planck, The Universe in the Light of Modern Physics
“Before an experiment can be performed, it must be planned—the question to nature must be formulated before being posed. Before the result of a measurement can be used, it must be interpreted—nature's answer must be understood properly. These two tasks are those of the theorist, who finds himself always more and more dependent on the tools of abstract mathematics. Of course, this does not mean that the experimenter does not also engage in theoretical deliberations. The foremost classical example of a major achievement produced by such a division of labor is the creation of spectrum analysis by the joint efforts of Robert Bunsen, the experimenter, and Gustav Kirchhoff, the theorist. Since then, spectrum analysis has been continually developing and bearing ever richer fruit.”
Max Planck
“The Theory of Relativity confers an absolute meaning on a magnitude which in classical theory has only a relative significance: the velocity of light. The velocity of light is to the Theory of Relativity as the elementary quantum of action is to the Quantum Theory: it is its absolute core.”
Max Planck, Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers
“[I do not believe] in a personal God, let alone a Christian God.”
Max Planck, The Dilemmas of an Upright Man: Max Planck and the Fortunes of German Science
“Religion and natural science are fighting a joint battle in an incessant, never relaxing crusade against skepticism and against dogmatism, against unbelief and superstition... [and therefore] 'On to God!”
Max Planck
“We cannot rest and sit down lest we rust and decay. Health is maintained only through work. And as it is with all life so it is with science. We are always struggling from the relative to the absolute.”
Max Planck, Where is Science Going?
“When I began my physical studies [in Munich in 1874] and sought advice from my venerable teacher Philipp von Jolly...he portrayed to me physics as a highly developed, almost fully matured science...Possibly in one or another nook there would perhaps be a dust particle or a small bubble to be examined and classified, but the system as a whole stood there fairly secured, and theoretical physics approached visibly that degree of perfection which, for example, geometry has had already for centuries.”
Max Planck
“The goal is nothing other than the coherence and completeness of the system not only in respect of all details, but also in respect of all physicists of all places, all times, all peoples, and all cultures.”
Max Planck, The Dilemmas of an Upright Man: Max Planck and the Fortunes of German Science
“We have no right to assume that any physical laws exist, or if they have existed up until now, that they will continue to exist in a similar manner in the future.”
Max Planck


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