History Of Science Quotes

Quotes tagged as "history-of-science" (showing 1-30 of 60)
Isaac Asimov
“A number of years ago, when I was a freshly-appointed instructor, I met, for the first time, a certain eminent historian of science. At the time I could only regard him with tolerant condescension.

I was sorry of the man who, it seemed to me, was forced to hover about the edges of science. He was compelled to shiver endlessly in the outskirts, getting only feeble warmth from the distant sun of science- in-progress; while I, just beginning my research, was bathed in the heady liquid heat up at the very center of the glow.

In a lifetime of being wrong at many a point, I was never more wrong. It was I, not he, who was wandering in the periphery. It was he, not I, who lived in the blaze.

I had fallen victim to the fallacy of the 'growing edge;' the belief that only the very frontier of scientific advance counted; that everything that had been left behind by that advance was faded and dead.

But is that true? Because a tree in spring buds and comes greenly into leaf, are those leaves therefore the tree? If the newborn twigs and their leaves were all that existed, they would form a vague halo of green suspended in mid-air, but surely that is not the tree. The leaves, by themselves, are no more than trivial fluttering decoration. It is the trunk and limbs that give the tree its grandeur and the leaves themselves their meaning.

There is not a discovery in science, however revolutionary, however sparkling with insight, that does not arise out of what went before. 'If I have seen further than other men,' said Isaac Newton, 'it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.”
Isaac Asimov, Adding a Dimension: Seventeen Essays on the History of Science

Bradley Steffens
“It's true. I doubt. I doubt because I seek the truth. Doubt has served me well.”
Bradley Steffens, The Prisoner of Al Hakim

Neil deGrasse Tyson
“Not enough books focus on how a culture responds to radically new ideas or discovery. Especially in the biography genre, they tend to focus on all the sordid details in the life of the person who made the discovery. I find this path to be voyeuristic but not enlightening. Instead, I ask, After evolution was discovered, how did religion and society respond? After cities were electrified, how did daily life change? After the airplane could fly from one country to another, how did commerce or warfare change? After we walked on the Moon, how differently did we view Earth? My larger understanding of people, places and things derives primarily from stories surrounding questions such as those.”
Neil deGrasse Tyson

John Michell
“The water beneath the Temple was both actual and metaphorical, existing as springs and streams, as spiritual energy, and as a symbol of the receptive or lunar aspect of nature.

The meaning of that principle is too wide and elusive for it to be given any one name, so in the terminology of ancient science it was given a number, 1,080. Its polar opposite, the positive, solar force in the universe, was also referred to as a number 666.

These two numbers, which have an approximate golden-section relationship of 1:1.62, were at the root of the alchemical formula that expressed the supreme purpose of the Temple. Its polar opposite, the positive, solar force in the universe, was also referred to as a number 666. Not merely was it used to generate energy from fusion of atmospheric and terrestrial currents, but it also served to combine in harmony all the correspondences of those forces on every level of creation.”
John Michell, The Dimensions of Paradise: Sacred Geometry, Ancient Science, and the Heavenly Order on Earth

“The unsolved problems of the physical world now seem even more formidable than those solved in the twentieth century.

Though in application it works splendidly, we do not even understand the physical meaning of quantum mechanics, much less how it might be united with general relativity.

We don't know why the dimensionless constants (ratios of masses of elementary particles, ratios of strength of gravitational to electric forces, fine structure constant, etc.) have the values they do, unless we appeal to the implausible anthropic principle, which seems like a regression to Aristotelian teleology.”
Gerald Holton, Physics, the Human Adventure: From Copernicus to Einstein and Beyond

Jonathan  Black
“Highly complex numbers like the Comma of Pythagoras, Pi and Phi (sometimes called the Golden Proportion), are known as irrational numbers. They lie deep in the structure of the physical universe, and were seen by the Egyptians as the principles controlling creation, the principles by which matter is precipitated from the cosmic mind.

Today scientists recognize the Comma of Pythagoras, Pi and the Golden Proportion as well as the closely related Fibonacci sequence are universal constants that describe complex patterns in astronomy, music and physics. ...

To the Egyptians these numbers were also the secret harmonies of the cosmos and they incorporated them as rhythms and proportions in the construction of their pyramids and temples.”
Jonathan Black, Mark Booth

Steven Weinberg
“Fine Structure Constant: Fundamental numerical constant of atomic physics and quantum electrodynamics, defined as the square of the charge of the electron divided by the product of Planck's constant and the speed of light.”
Steven Weinberg, The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe

Oswald Spengler
“It is a bizarre, but nevertheless psychologically exact, fact that the physics of the Greeks — being statics and not dynamics — neither knew the use nor felt the absence of the time-element, whereas we on the other hand work
in thousandths of a second.”
Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West

John Anthony West
“Central to all these interlinked themes was that curious irrational, phi, the Golden Section. Schwaller de Lubicz believed that if ancient Egypt possessed knowledge of ultimate causes, that knowledge would be written into their temples not in explicit texts but in harmony, proportion, myth and symbol.”
John Anthony West, Serpent in the Sky: The High Wisdom of Ancient Egypt

“The power of the deductive network produced in physics has been illustrated in a delightful article by Victor F. Weisskopf. He begins by taking the magnitudes of six physical constants known by measurement: the mass of the proton, the mass and electric charge of the electron, the light velocity, Newton's gravitational constant, and the quantum of action of Planck.

He adds three of four fundamental laws (e.g., de Broglie's relations connecting particle momentum and particle energy with the wavelength and frequency, and the Pauli exclusion principle), and shows that one can then derive a host of different, apparently quite unconnected, facts that happen to be known to us by observation separately ....”
Gerald Holton, The Scientific Imagination: With a New Introduction

Carl Johan Calleman
“While twentieth-century physicists were not able to identify any convincing mathematical constants underlying the fine structure, partly because such thinking has normally not been encouraged, a revolutionary suggestion was recently made by the Czech physicist Raji Heyrovska, who deduced that the fine structure constant, ...really is defined by the [golden] ratio ....”
Carl Johan Calleman, The Purposeful Universe: How Quantum Theory and Mayan Cosmology Explain the Origin and Evolution of Life

“...men are capable of perceiving the Pyramid in an astonishing number of ways. Some have thought the Pyramid was an astronomic and astrological observatory. Some have thought it functioned as the equivalent of a theodolite for surveyors in ancient times... Some think it performed as a giant sundial... Some think it records the mathematics and science of a civilization which vanished... Some think it is a huge water pump. Others have thought it was filled with fabulous treasures... One early investigator came away convinced it was the remains of a huge volcano. Another thought the pyramids were Joseph's granaries. Some thought they were heathen idols which should be destroyed. Some believe the Pyramid captures powerful cosmic energies... Some think it is a tomb. Some think it is a Bible in stone with prophecies built into the scheme of its internal passages... Some think it was a mammoth public works project which consolidated the position of the pharaoh and the unity of the nation. Some think it was built by beings from outer space. Some say it was a temple of initiation. Some hold that it was an instrument of science. Some believe it is an altar of Guild built through direct Divine Revelation. And today, judging by the uses to which it has been put, some apparently think it is an outhouse.”
William Fix, Pyramid Odyssey

Peter Tompkins
“The conclusion that the Egyptians of the Old Kingdom were acquainted with both the Fibonacci series and the Golden Section, says Stecchini, is so startling in relation to current assumptions about the level of Egyptian mathematics that it could hardly have been accepted on the basis of Herodotus' statement alone, or on the fact that the phi [golden] proportion happens to be incorporated in the Great Pyramid.

But the many measurements made by Professor Jean Philippe Lauer, says Stecchini, definitely prove the occurrence of the Golden Section throughout the architecture of the Old Kingdom.... Schwaller de Lubicz also found graphic evidence that the pharonic Egyptians had worked out a direct relation between pi and phi in that pi = phi^2 x 6/5.”
Peter Tompkins, Secrets of the Great Pyramid: Two Thousand Years of Adventures & Discoveries Surrounding the Mysteries of the Great Pyramid of Cheops

“The impulse to all movement and all form is given by [the golden ratio], since it is the proportion that summarizes in itself the additive and the geometric, or logarithmic, series.”
Schwaller de Lubicz

“The bridge between the electron and the other elementary particles is provided by the fine structure constant. ... An expanded form of the constant leads to equations that define the transformation of electromagnetic energy into electron mass/energy, ...”
Malcolm H. Mac Gregor, The Enigmatic Electron: A Doorway to Particle Masses

Drunvalo Melchizedek
“According to Thoth, because of the placement of the Great Pyramid on the Earth connecting into the Earth's huge geometrical field - specifically the octahedral field of the Earth, which is equivalent to our own fields - and because of the pyramid's mass and the geometries used in it, the white-light energy field spirals upward and becomes extremely strong, stretching all the way out to the center of the galaxy. The dark-light energy comes in from above, spirals through zero point and connects with the center of the Earth. In this way the Great Pyramid connects the center of the Earth to the center of our galaxy.”
Drunvalo Melchizedek, The Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life: Volume 2

“The pyramid that can be constructed on the diameters of earth and moon bears the precise proportions of the Great Pyramid”
Bonnie Gaunt, Stonehenge & the Great Pyramid: Window on the Universe

Paul Davies
“God is a pure mathematician!' declared British astronomer Sir James Jeans. The physical Universe does seem to be organised around elegant mathematical relationships. And one number above all others has exercised an enduring fascination for physicists: 137.0359991.... It is known as the fine-structure constant and is denoted by the Greek letter alpha (α).”
Paul Davies

“Since ancient times artists and architects have seen in the golden mean the most aesthetically satisfying geometric ratio.”
Stephen M. Barr, Modern Physics and Ancient Faith

“Dirac's equation not only accounted for the spin of the electron and its observed magnetic moment, but also correctly explained the fine structure of the hydrogen atom. If the derivation of the Sommerfeld-like formula for the spectrum of the hydrogen atom was one of the striking successes of the Dirac equation, some of its other features were very troublesome.”
Silvan S. Schweber, Qed and the Men Who Made It: Dyson, Feynman, Schwinger, and Tomonaga

“In a way, the Phi Triangle of the Golden Mean could be compared to the path of light sent forth from the great All-Seeing Eye of God in the beginning, and which paved the way for the creation of the Universe.”
William Eisen, The English Cabalah Volume 2, The Mysteries of Phi

“A good example of the archetypal ideas which the archetypes produce are natural numbers or integers. With the aid of the integers the shaping and ordering of our experiences becomes exact. Another example is mathematical group theory. ...important applications of group theory are symmetries which can be found in most different connections both in nature and among the 'artifacts' produced by human beings. Group theory also has important applications in mathematics and mathematical physics. For example, the theory of elementary particles and their interactions can in essential respects be reduced to abstract symmetries.
[The Message of the Atoms: Essays on Wolfgang Pauli and the Unspeakable]”
K. V. Laurikainen

“The prime number 137 had continuously occupied Pauli's mind. It is an approximate value for a constant appearing in the fine structure theory of atomic spectra which in its theoretical expression ties together electromagnetism, relativity and quantum theory. Pauli saw the fine structure theory of spectra as a key in understanding the deepest contemporary problems of theoretical physics. For that reason the number 137 possessed a mysterious attraction for him.”
K. V. Laurikainen, Beyond the Atom: The Philosophical Thought of Wolfgang Pauli

“In short, the idea dawns that the one universal principle which possibly ... between force and structure, the embodiment of the Principle of Least Action and the (unknown) force, which in mathematics is known as the attractor which pulls ... in the direction of the most optimal and relatively stable self-organized criticality, could very well be the Golden Ratio dynamic. the universal principle which as the balance between finiteness and infinity, stability and flexibility underlies self-similar fractal forms emerging at the 'edge of chaos' indeed seems to be the Golden Ratio Spiral.”
Marja de Vries, The Whole Elephant Revealed: Insights into the existence and operation of Universal Laws and the Golden Ratio

“The description of this proportion as Golden or Divine is fitting perhaps because it is seen by many to open the door to a deeper understanding of beauty and spirituality in life. That’s an incredible role for one number to play, but then again this one number has played an incredible role in human history and the universe at large.”
H.E. Huntley, The Divine Proportion

“In his first philosophical lecture on modern physics that Pauli gave in November 1934 to the Zurich Philosophical Society he said that only a formulation of quantum theory would be satisfactory which expresses the relation between the value of [the fine structure constant] and charge conservation in the same complementary was as that between the space-time description and energy-momentum conservation.”
Charles P. Enz, No Time to Be Brief: A Scientific Biography of Wolfgang Pauli

“The golden era of the golden number was the Italian renaissance. The expression divine proportion was coined by the great mathematician Luca Pacioli in his book 'De divina proportione', written in 1509.”
Midhat Gazale, Gnomon: From Pharaohs to Fractals

Oswald Spengler
“Who amongst them realizes that between the Differential Calculus and the dynastic principle of politics in the age of Louis XIV, between the Classical city-state and the Euclidean geometry, between the space perspective of Western oil painting and the conquest of space by railroad, telephone and long range weapon, between contrapuntal music and credit economics, there are deep uniformities?”
Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West

“This relationship, often called the Golden mean, has been discovered and rediscovered at various times in history as a unique proportion believed to have both aesthetic and mystic significance. That the Egyptians knew of it and used it seems certain.”
John Pile, A History of Interior Design - By John Pile

“Every act of reading is an act of forgetting: the experience of reading is a palimpsest, in which each text partially covers those that came before. Those books that allow us to forget the most are accorded he authority of the classic.”
James A. Secord, Victorian Sensation: The Extraordinary Publication, Reception, and Secret Authorship of Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation

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