Isaac Newton Quotes

Quotes tagged as "isaac-newton" 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

Robert G. Ingersoll
“Why should we place Christ at the top and summit of the human race? Was he kinder, more forgiving, more self-sacrificing than Buddha? Was he wiser, did he meet death with more perfect calmness, than Socrates? Was he more patient, more charitable, than Epictetus? Was he a greater philosopher, a deeper thinker, than Epicurus? In what respect was he the superior of Zoroaster? Was he gentler than Lao-tsze, more universal than Confucius? Were his ideas of human rights and duties superior to those of Zeno? Did he express grander truths than Cicero? Was his mind subtler than Spinoza’s? Was his brain equal to Kepler’s or Newton’s? Was he grander in death – a sublimer martyr than Bruno? Was he in intelligence, in the force and beauty of expression, in breadth and scope of thought, in wealth of illustration, in aptness of comparison, in knowledge of the human brain and heart, of all passions, hopes and fears, the equal of Shakespeare, the greatest of the human race?”
Robert G. Ingersoll, About The Holy Bible

Richard Dawkins
“You could give Aristotle a tutorial. And you could thrill him to the core of his being. Aristotle was an encyclopedic polymath, an all time intellect. Yet not only can you know more than him about the world. You also can have a deeper understanding of how everything works. Such is the privilege of living after Newton, Darwin, Einstein, Planck, Watson, Crick and their colleagues.

I'm not saying you're more intelligent than Aristotle, or wiser. For all I know, Aristotle's the cleverest person who ever lived. That's not the point. The point is only that science is cumulative, and we live later.”
Richard Dawkins

Isaac Newton
“If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been due more to patient attention, than to any other talent”
Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton
“He who thinks half-heartedly will not believe in God; but he who really thinks has to believe in God.”
Isaac Newton

Charles Darwin
“...But I own that I cannot see as plainly as others do, and as I should wish to do, evidence of design and beneficence on all sides of us. There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidæ with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice... I feel most deeply that the whole subject is too profound for the human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton. Let each man hope and believe what he can.”
Charles Darwin, The Life & Letters of Charles Darwin

Thomas Henry Huxley
“The known is finite, the unknown infinite; intellectually we stand on an islet in the midst of an illimitable ocean of inexplicability. Our business in every generation is to reclaim a little more land, to add something to the extent and the solidity of our possessions. And even a cursory glance at the history of the biological sciences during the last quarter of a century is sufficient to justify the assertion, that the most potent instrument for the extension of the realm of natural knowledge which has come into men's hands, since the publication of Newton's ‘Principia’, is Darwin's ‘Origin of Species.”
Thomas Henry Huxley

John  Adams
“...The Presidential election has given me less anxiety than I myself could have imagined. The next administration will be a troublesome one, to whomsoever it falls, and our John has been too much worn to contend much longer with conflicting factions. I call him our John, because, when you were at the Cul de sac at Paris, he appeared to me to be almost as much your boy as mine.

...As to the decision of your author, though I wish to see the book {Flourens’s Experiments on the functions of the nervous system in vertebrated animals}, I look upon it as a mere game at push-pin. Incision-knives will never discover the distinction between matter and spirit, or whether there is any or not. That there is an active principle of power in the universe, is apparent; but in what substance that active principle resides, is past our investigation. The faculties of our understanding are not adequate to penetrate the universe. Let us do our duty, which is to do as we would be done by; and that, one would think, could not be difficult, if we honestly aim at it.

Your university is a noble employment in your old age, and your ardor for its success does you honor; but I do not approve of your sending to Europe for tutors and professors. I do believe there are sufficient scholars in America, to fill your professorships and tutorships with more active ingenuity and independent minds than you can bring from Europe. The Europeans are all deeply tainted with prejudices, both ecclesiastical and temporal, which they can never get rid of. They are all infected with episcopal and presbyterian creeds, and confessions of faith. They all believe that great Principle which has produced this boundless universe, Newton’s universe and Herschel’s universe, came down to this little ball, to be spit upon by Jews. And until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there never will be any liberal science in the world.

I salute your fireside with best wishes and best affections for their health, wealth and prosperity.

{Letter to Thomas Jefferson, 22 January, 1825}”
John Adams, The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams

Geoffrey Miller
“Imagine a young Isaac Newton time-travelling from 1670s England to teach Harvard undergrads in 2017. After the time-jump, Newton still has an obsessive, paranoid personality, with Asperger’s syndrome, a bad stutter, unstable moods, and episodes of psychotic mania and depression. But now he’s subject to Harvard’s speech codes that prohibit any “disrespect for the dignity of others”; any violations will get him in trouble with Harvard’s Inquisition (the ‘Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion’). Newton also wants to publish Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, to explain the laws of motion governing the universe. But his literary agent explains that he can’t get a decent book deal until Newton builds his ‘author platform’ to include at least 20k Twitter followers – without provoking any backlash for airing his eccentric views on ancient Greek alchemy, Biblical cryptography, fiat currency, Jewish mysticism, or how to predict the exact date of the Apocalypse.

Newton wouldn’t last long as a ‘public intellectual’ in modern American culture. Sooner or later, he would say ‘offensive’ things that get reported to Harvard and that get picked up by mainstream media as moral-outrage clickbait. His eccentric, ornery awkwardness would lead to swift expulsion from academia, social media, and publishing. Result? On the upside, he’d drive some traffic through Huffpost, Buzzfeed, and Jezebel, and people would have a fresh controversy to virtue-signal about on Facebook. On the downside, we wouldn’t have Newton’s Laws of Motion.”
Geoffrey Miller

John Maynard Keynes
“Newton was not the first of the age of reason. He was the last of the magicians, the last of the Babylonians and Sumerians, the last great mind that looked out on the visible and intellectual world with the same eyes as those who began to build our intellectual inheritance rather less than 10,000 years ago.”
John Maynard Keynes

Isaac Newton
“Plato is my friend, Aristotle is my friend, but my greatest friend is truth.”
Isaac Newton

Robert G. Ingersoll
“Is it possible that the Pentateuch could not have been written by uninspired men? that the assistance of God was necessary to produce these books? Is it possible that Galilei ascertained the mechanical principles of 'Virtual Velocity,' the laws of falling bodies and of all motion; that Copernicus ascertained the true position of the earth and accounted for all celestial phenomena; that Kepler discovered his three laws—discoveries of such importance that the 8th of May, 1618, may be called the birth-day of modern science; that Newton gave to the world the Method of Fluxions, the Theory of Universal Gravitation, and the Decomposition of Light; that Euclid, Cavalieri, Descartes, and Leibniz, almost completed the science of mathematics; that all the discoveries in optics, hydrostatics, pneumatics and chemistry, the experiments, discoveries, and inventions of Galvani, Volta, Franklin and Morse, of Trevithick, Watt and Fulton and of all the pioneers of progress—that all this was accomplished by uninspired men, while the writer of the Pentateuch was directed and inspired by an infinite God? Is it possible that the codes of China, India, Egypt, Greece and Rome were made by man, and that the laws recorded in the Pentateuch were alone given by God? Is it possible that Æschylus and Shakespeare, Burns, and Beranger, Goethe and Schiller, and all the poets of the world, and all their wondrous tragedies and songs are but the work of men, while no intelligence except the infinite God could be the author of the Pentateuch? Is it possible that of all the books that crowd the libraries of the world, the books of science, fiction, history and song, that all save only one, have been produced by man? Is it possible that of all these, the bible only is the work of God?”
Robert G. Ingersoll, Some Mistakes of Moses

James Gleick
“For the purposes of science, information had to mean something special. Three centuries earlier, the new discipline of physics could not proceed until Isaac Newton appropriated words that were ancient and vague—force, mass, motion, and even time—and gave them new meanings. Newton made these terms into quantities, suitable for use in mathematical formulas. Until then, motion (for example) had been just as soft and inclusive a term as information. For Aristotelians, motion covered a far-flung family of phenomena: a peach ripening, a stone falling, a child growing, a body decaying. That was too rich. Most varieties of motion had to be tossed out before Newton’s laws could apply and the Scientific Revolution could succeed. In the nineteenth century, energy began to undergo a similar transformation: natural philosophers adapted a word meaning vigor or intensity. They mathematicized it, giving energy its fundamental place in the physicists’ view of nature.

It was the same with information. A rite of purification became necessary.

And then, when it was made simple, distilled, counted in bits, information was found to be everywhere.”
James Gleick, The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood

Isaac Newton
“There are more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible that in any profane history”
Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton
“As a blind man has no idea of colors, so have we no idea of the manner by which the all-wise God perceives and understands all things”
Isaac Newton

Michael Denton
“In the discoveries of science the harmony of the spheres is also now the harmony of life. And as the eerie illumination of science penetrates evermore deeply into the order of nature, the cosmos appears increasingly to be a vast system finely tuned to generate life and organisms of biology very similar, perhaps identical, to ourselves. All the evidence available in the biological sciences supports the core proposition of traditional natural theology - that the cosmos is a specially designed whole with life and mankind as a fundamental goal and purpose, a whole in which all facets of reality, from the size of galaxies to the thermal capacity of water, have their meaning and explanation in this central fact.

Four centuries after the scientific revolution apparently destroyed irretrievably man's special place in the universe, banished Aristotle, and rendered teleological speculation obsolete, the relentless stream of discovery has turned dramatically in favor of teleology and design, and the doctrine of the microcosm is reborn. As I hope the evidence presented in this book has shown, science, which has been for centuries the great ally of atheism and skepticism, has become at last, in the final days of the second millennium, what Newton and many of its early advocates had so fervently wished - the "defender of the anthropocentric faith.”
Michael Denton, Nature's Destiny: How the Laws of Biology Reveal Purpose in the Universe

John  Adams
“Human nature with all its infirmities and deprivation is still capable of great things. It is capable of attaining to degrees of wisdom and goodness, which we have reason to believe, appear as respectable in the estimation of superior intelligences. Education makes a greater difference between man and man, than nature has made between man and brute. The virtues and powers to which men may be trained, by early education and constant discipline, are truly sublime and astonishing. Isaac Newton and John Locke are examples of the deep sagacity which may be acquired by long habits of thinking and study.”
John Adams, Familiar Letters Of John Adams And His Wife Abigail Adams During The Revolution: With A Memoir Of Mrs. Adams

Thomas Jefferson
“I have received the favor of your letter of August 17th, and with it the volume you were so kind as to send me on the Literature of Negroes. Be assured that no person living wishes more sincerely than I do, to see a complete refutation of the doubts I have myself entertained and expressed on the grade of understanding allotted to them by nature, and to find that in this respect they are on a par with ourselves. My doubts were the result of personal observation on the limited sphere of my own State, where the opportunities for the development of their genius were not favorable, and those of exercising it still less so. I expressed them therefore with great hesitation; but whatever be their degree of talent it is no measure of their rights. Because Sir Isaac Newton was superior to others in understanding, he was not therefore lord of the person or property of others. On this subject they are gaining daily in the opinions of nations, and hopeful advances are making towards their reestablishment on an equal footing with the other colors of the human family.”
Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

Robert Leckie
“There was no feeling of dedication because it was absolutely involuntary. I do not doubt that if the Marines had asked for volunteers for an impossible campaign such as Guadalcanal, almost everyone now fighting would have stepped forward. But that is sacrifice; that is voluntary. Being expended robs you of the exultation, the self-abnegation, the absolute freedom of self-sacrifice. Being puts one in the role of victim rather than sacrificer, and there is always something begrudging in this. I doubt if Isaac would have accepted the knife of his father, Abraham, entirely without reproach; yet, for the same master, he would have gladly gone to his death a thousand times. The world is full of the sacrifice of heroes and martyrs, but there was only one Victim.”
Robert Leckie, Helmet for My Pillow

Isaac Newton
“To explain all nature is too difficult a task for any one man or even for any one age it is much better to do a little with certainty and leave the rest for others who come after you”
Isaac Newton

W.W. Rouse Ball
“Foreshadowings of the principles and even of the language of [the infinitesimal] calculus can be found in the writings of Napier, Kepler, Cavalieri, Fermat, Wallis, and Barrow. It was Newton's good luck to come at a time when everything was ripe for the discovery, and his ability enabled him to construct almost at once a complete calculus.”
W.W. Rouse Ball, A Short Account of the History of Mathematics

China Miéville
“He was back in the water, not braving but frowning, synchronised swimming, not swimming but sinking, toward the godsquid he knew was there, tentacular fleshscape and the moon-sized eye that he never saw but knew, as if the core of the fucking planet was not searing metal but mollusc, as if what we fall toward when we fall, what the apple was heading for when Newton's head got in the way, was kraken.”
China Miéville, Kraken

James Gleick
“Before Newton the English word gravity denoted a mood—seriousness, solemnity….”
James Gleick, The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood

Neal Stephenson
“Talent was not rare; the ability to survive having it was.

(Enoch Root observes six-year-old Isaac Newton)”
Neal Stephenson

Neal Stephenson
“And so from then onwards, Daniel understood that the point of this grueling sundial project was not merely to plot the curve but to understand why each curve was shaped as it was. To put it another way, Isaac wanted to be able to walk up to a blank wall on a cloudy day, stab a gnomom into it, and draw all of the curves simply by knowing where shadow would pass. This was the same thing as knowing where the sun would be in the sky and that was the same as knowing where the Earth was in its circuit around the sun, and in its daily rotation. Though as months went on, Daniel understood that Isaac wanted to be able to do the same thing even if the blank wall happened to be situated on, say, the moon that Christiaan Huygens had lately discovered revolving around Saturn. Exactly how this might be accomplished was a question with ramifications that extended into such fields as would Isaac, and Daniel for that matter, be thrown out of Trinity College? Were the Earth and all the works of man nearing the end of a long, relentless decay that had begun with the expulsion from Eden, and that would very soon culminate in the apocalypse? Or might things actually be getting better, with the promise of continuing to do so? Did people have souls? Did they have free will?”
Neal Stephenson

Neal Stephenson
“Now walking out onto the upper deck to find Minerva sailing steadily eastward on calm seas, Daniel is appalled that anyone ever doubted these matters. The horizon is a perfect line. The sun a red circle tracing a neat path through the sky and proceeding through an orderly series of color changes: red, yellow, white. Thus nature.

Minerva, the human world, is a family of curves. There are no straight lines here. The decks are slightly arched, to shed water and supply greater strength. The masts flexed, impelled by the thrust of the sails, but restrained by webs of rigging, curved grids like Isaac’s sundial lines. Of course, wherever wind collects in a sail or water skims around the hull, it follows rules that Bernoulli has set down using the calculus, Leibniz’s version. Minerva is a congregation of Leibniz curves, navigating according to Bernoulli rules, across a vast mostly water-covered sphere whose size, precise shape, trajectory through the heavens and destiny were all laid down by Newton.”
Neal Stephenson

Ian Tregillis
“See Cook [op.cit.] for a discussion of Huygens’s unusual wartime visit to Cambridge and the Royal Society. His philosophical contretemps with Isaac Newton in 1675 (referenced in Society minutes as “The Great Corpuscular Debate”) would mark the last significant intellectual discourse between England and the continent prior to the chaos of the Interregnum and the Annexation . . . Some Newton biographers [Winchester (1867), &c] indicate Huygens may have used his sojourn in Cambridge to access Newton’s alchemical journals and that key insights derived thusly may have been instrumental to Huygens’s monumental breakthrough. However, cf. Hooft [1909] and references therein for a critique of the forensic alchemy underlying this assertion. From Freeman, Thomas S., A History of the Pre-Annexation England from Hastings to the Glorious Revolution, 3 Vols. New Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1918.”
Ian Tregillis

Leroy E. Grey
“Truth is the offspring of silence and unbroken meditation" Sir Isaac Newton”
Leroy E. Grey, Make Christianity Great Again

Sarah C. Patten
“It was a simple truth. She thought of Lucien and of his love of Isaac Newton. She remember Newton’s deeply held mistrust of people. He was an introvert and a private man who never traveled far from his birthplace. While Newton experienced so much celestial wonder, he mostly kept to himself. In fact, it was believed that throughout his life, he never fell in love.”
Sarah C. Patten, The Measure of Gold

Dava Sobel
“Halley had become England’s second astronomer royal in 1720, after John Flamsteed’s death. The puritanical Flamsteed had reason to roll over in his grave at this development, since in life he had denounced Halley for drinking brandy and swearing “like a sea-captain.” And of course Flamsteed never forgave Halley, or his accomplice Newton, for pilfering the star catalogs and publishing them against his will.

Well liked by most, kind to his inferiors, Halley ran the observatory with a sense of humor. He added immeasurably to the luster of the place with his observations of the moon and his discovery of the proper motion of the stars—even if it’s true what they say about the night he and Peter the Great cavorted like a couple of schoolboys and took turns pushing each other through hedges in a wheelbarrow.”
Dava Sobel, Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time

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