Quotable lines

By Grant Jacobs 26/08/2010

A short selection of quotable lines from or about science and medicine

Perhaps relevant to Kubke Fabiana’s recent post:

Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing. I have only begun to learn content and peace of mind since I have resolved at all risks to do this.

(Thomas Henry Huxley, in a letter to Charles Kingsley, 23 September 1860. Do note that this is an earlier Huxley than in Fabiana’s post. This family has several generations of renown scientists.)

Just for a bit of a laugh:

It is a good thing for a physician to have prematurely grey hair and itching piles. The first makes him appear to know more than he does, and the second gives him an expression of concern which the patient interprets as being on his behalf.

(A. Benson Cannon)

Not from a scientist, nor strictly a science quote, but one science bloggers will empathise with:

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.

(Bertrand Russell)

A well-known classic, but too good resist repeating here:

Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.

(Arthur Eddington)

Possibly my all-time favourite:

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not Eureka! (I found it!) but rather, “hmm…. that’s funny….”

(Isaac Asimov)

Offer your own favourites in the comments.

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