· Quotations

I hate quotations.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

· My own quotation

We are the Neanderthals of the future.
Concerning the idea that we will have soon a theory of everything (TOE or probably better TOY) as Hawking and other claim and that the end of Science will soon be reached where nothing really important can be found.

·Vox populi vox Rindvieh

Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.
Hermann Göring (1893-1946) at the Nürnberger Trials

·Religion and Science

When the question is asked what we are to believe in regard to religion, it is not necessary to probe into the nature of things as was done by those whom the Greeks call physici. It is enough for the Christians to believe that the only cause of all created things - whether heavenly or earthly - is the goodness of the creator, the one true God.
St. Augustine (354-430) (City of God, A.D. 415)

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.
Bertrand Russell

Napoleon: How is it that, although you say so much about the Universe, you say nothing about its Creator?
Laplace: No, Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis.
Lagrange: Ah, but it is such a good hypothesis: it explains so many things!
Laplace: Indeed, Sire, Monsieur Lagrange has, with his usual sagacity, put his finger on the precise difficulty with the hypothesis:
it explains everything, but predicts nothing.
Conversation between Laplace and Lagrange mediated by Napoleon, DeMorgan's Budget of Paradoxes

·Science and prediction

It's hard to make predictions, especially about the future.
Niels Bohr (1885-1962)

Anyone who expects a source of power from tranformations of atoms is taking moonshine.
Lord Ernest Rutherford in 1927

· Planning and decision

Plan backwards as well as forward. Set objectives and trace back to see how to achieve them. You may find that no path can get you there. Plan forward to see where your steps will take you, which may not be clear or intuitive.
Donald Rumsfeld

Dont fight a problem, decide it.
Gen. George Catlett. Marshall, in 1942 (1880-1959)

I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969)

· Discovery

If we do not expect the unexpected, we will never find it.
Heraclit (535-475 B.C.)

The task is, not so much to see what no one has yet seen; but to think what nobody has yet thought, about that which everybody sees.
Erwin Schrodinger (1887-1961).Compare this to: Creativity is the ability to see relationships where none exist, Thomas Disch

If I have seen farther it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.
Newton, Isaac (1643-1727) or is it more exact “If I have seen farther than Descartes, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants” a reply to Robert Hook?

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

A deep truth is a truth so deep that not only is it true but it's exact opposite is also true.
Niels Bohr (1885-1962) in Rees, Martin, Remo Ruffini, and John Archibald Wheeler. 1974. Black Holes, Gravitational Waves and Cosmology: An Introduction to Current Research. New York: Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, p 297. For example, "viewing a thing from outside, considering its relations of action and reaction with other things, it appears as matter. Viewing it from inside, looking at its immediate character as feeling, it appears as consciousness" (Peirce 1893:353 [1978]. "Man's Glassy Essence." In The Philosophy of Peirce: Selected Writings. J. Buchler, ed. New York: AMS Press). And, "although all inertial systems are equivalent, according to the mechanics of Galileo and Newton as well as to that of Einstein's special relativity, one can always find a privileged system defined by the fact that from within it the observer sees an isotropic expansion of the universe about him" (Cercignani 1998 Ludwig Boltzmann, The Man Who Trusted Atoms. New York: Oxford University Press. ).

Now since it is impossible that contradictories should be at the same time true of the same thing, obviously contraries also cannot belong at the same time to the same thing. If, then, it is impossible to affirm and deny truly at the same time, it is also impossible that contraries should belong to a subject at the same time, unless both belong to it in particular relations, or one in a particular relation and one without qualification. But on the other hand there cannot be an intermediate between contradictories, but of one subject we must either affirm or deny any one predicate.
Aristotle (Metaphysics, Book IV, Chapters 6-7)

Given a definite state or quality A, a thing must either have it or not - "Either A or not-A"
Aristotle Third Law of Thought

The investigation of the truth is in one way hard, in another easy. An indication of this is found in the fact that no one is able to attain the truth adequately, while, on the other hand, we do not collectively fail, but every one says something true about the nature of things, and while individually we contribute little or nothing to the truth, by the union of all a considerable amount is amassed.
Aristotle (384-322) BC Metaphysics II, chapter 1

An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.
Friedrich Engels (1820-1895)

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.
Frank Zappa (1940-1993)

Fundamental progress has to do with the reinterpretation of basic ideas.
Whitehead, Alfred North (1861 – 1947)
W.H. Auden and L. Kronenberger The Viking Book of Aphorisms, New York: Viking Press, 1966.

If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.
Rutherford, Ernest (1871-1937) In N. T. J. Bailey the Mathematical Approach to Biology and Medicine, New York: Wiley, 1967.

Hypotheses non fingo ( feign no hypotheses).
Newton, Isaac (1642-1727),Principia Mathematica.

Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler.
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

Archimedes, that he might transport the entire globe from the place it occupied to another, demanded only a point that was firm and immovable; so, also, I shall be entitled to entertain the highest expectations, if I am fortunate enough to discover only one thing that is certain and indubitable.
Rene Descartes (1596-1650) Meditations On First Philosophy Meditation II, 1641

Relating to Descartes, a famous philosopher, author of the celebrated dictum, Cogito ergo sum -- whereby he was pleased to suppose he demonstrated the reality of human existence. The dictum might be improved, however, thus: Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum
"I think that I think, therefore I think that I am;" as close an approach to certainty as any philosopher has yet made.
Ambrose Bierce: The Enlarged Devil’s Dictionary

I think. Therefore I am not a Christian K. Deschner

...it would be better for the true physics if there were no mathematicians on earth.
Bernoulli, Daniel In The Mathematical Intelligencer, v. 13, no. 1, Winter 1991.

Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily.
William of Occam (1300-1439), Occam's Razor Principle

Out of nothing I have created a strange new universe.
Janos Bolyai (1802-1860), in a letter to his father describing the discovery of non-Euclidean geometry.
He inherited an interest in geometry and the theory of parallels from his father, who nevertheless advised him to "shy away from it as if from lewd intercourse" to preserve "peace of mind."
His father, Farkas, was a college friend of the now famous Gauss, but when he sent Janos' work to Gauss, Gauss replied that it was fine work, but he could not praise it, for this would be self-praise, since he had developed a similar theory years before. This demoralized Janos so much that, while he continued to work on mathematical problems, he published no more.

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

In some way or the other, each one of us affects the course of history…a self-educated Scottish mechanic once made a minor adjustment to a steam pump and triggered the whole Industrial Revolution.
James Burke talking about James Watt
who simply improved on Thomas Newcomen’s steam engine design, which was on display at the museum in which Watt worked. The adjustment Watt made meant that the engine needed much less coal to do the same amount of work.

We are but cogwheels in the medium of the universe, and it is...an unavoidable consequence of the laws governing that the pioneer who is far in advance of his age is not understood and must suffer pain and disappointment and be content with the higher reward which is accorded to him by posterity.
Nikola Tesla

One thing I have learned in a long life: that all our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike – and yet it is the most precious thing we have
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress

depends on the unreasonable man.
George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman

· Religion

I don't think we're for anything we're just products of evolution. You can say Gee, your life must be pretty bleak if you don't think there's a purpose, but I'm anticipating a good lunch.
Dr. James Watson (1928-)

The more a man is imbued with the ordered regularity of all events the firmer becomes his conviction that there is no room left by the side of this ordered regularity for causes of a different nature.
For him neither the rule of human nor the rule of divine will exist as an independent cause of natural events.
To be sure, the doctrine of a personal God interfering with the natural events could never be refuted, in the real sense, by science, for this doctrine can always take refuge in those domains in which scientific knowledge has not yet been able to set foot.
But I am persuaded that such behaviour on the part of the representatives of religion would not only be unworthy but also fatal
For a doctrine which is able to maintain itself not in clear light but only in the dark, will of necessity lose its effect on mankind, with incalculable harm to human progress ....
If it is one of the goals of religions to liberate mankind as far as possible from the bondage of egocentric cravings, desires, and fears, scientific reasoning can aid religion in another sense.
Although it is true that it is the goal of science to discover (the) rules which permit the association and foretelling of facts, this is not its only aim.
It also seeks to reduce the connections discovered to the smallest possible number of mutually independent conceptual elements.
It is in this striving after the rational unification of the manifold that it encounters its greatest successes, even though it is precisely this attempt which causes it to run the greatest risk of falling a prey to illusion.
But whoever has undergone the intense experience of successful advances made in this domain, is moved by the profound reverence for the rationality made manifest in existence.
By way of the understanding he achieves a far reaching emancipation from the shackles of personal hopes and desires, and thereby attains that humble attitude of mind toward the grandeur of reason, incarnate in existence, and which, in its profoundest depths, is inaccessible to man.
This attitude, however, appears to me to be religious in the highest sense of the word.
And so it seems to me that science not only purifies the religious impulse of the dross of its anthropomorphism but also contributes to a religious spiritualization of our understanding of life.
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description. If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism.
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

But if there is no solace in the fruits of our research, there is at least some consolation in the research itself. Men and women are not content to comfort themselves with tales of gods and giants, or to confine their thoughts to the daily affairs of life; they also build telescopes and satellites and accelerators, and sit at their desks for endless hours working out the meaning of the data they gather. The effort to understand the universe is one of the very few things that lifts human life a little above the level of farce, and gives it some of the grace of tragedy.
Steven Weinberg The First Three Minutes. In formulating his ethical system Aristotle started with Plato's query: What is the end of life, the highest good toward which a man can aspire? Reasoning inductively, Aristotle showed that a man's highest aim is not merely to live, for that aim he shares with the whole of nature. Nor is it to feel, for that is shared with the animals. As man is the only being in the universe who possesses a rational soul, Aristotle concluded that man's highest aim is the activity of the soul in conformity with reason. Although Plato taught that every man should concentrate upon the particular virtue which was most necessary for him at his own stage of evolution, he declared that Justice is the highest of all virtues, being inherent in the soul itself. That idea is clarified by Mr. Judge's statement that "all is soul and spirit ever evolving under the rule of law (or Justice) which is inherent in the whole." Aristotle, on the other hand, taught that the highest virtue is intellectual contemplation.

I do not feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without any purpose, which it is as far as I can tell. It does not frighten me.
Richard Feynman (From the book GENIUS by James Gleick)

And the cause of everything is that which we call God. To know God and to live is the same thing. God is Life. What am I? A part of the infinite. It is indeed in these words that the whole problem lies. The essence of any religion lies solely in the answer to the question: why do I exist, and what is my relationship to the infinite universe that surrounds me? It is impossible for there to be a person with no religion (i.e. without any kind of relationship to the world) as it is for there to be a person without a heart. He may not know that he has a religion, just as a person may not know that he has a heart, but it is no more possible for a person to exist without a religion than without a heart. Leo Tolstoy, 1879

· Computers

I think computer viruses should count as life. I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. We've created life in our own image.
Stephen Hawking (1942-)

640K ought to be enough for anybody.
Bill Gates (1955-), in 1981 denies saying this and the quote is likely a fabrication as the memory limit was imposed by the hardware architecture not the software.

There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.
Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

Science is what we understand well enough to explain to a computer. Art is everything else we do." (1996)
Donald Knuth (1938-) Source: Foreward to the book A=B


C. G. J. Jacobi's brother, M. H. Jacobi, had a prodigious contemporary reputation as the founder of the fasionable "science" of galvanoplasty. The great mathematician was constantly being mistaken for M. H. Jacobi or even congratulated on having such a famous sibling. Conscious of the lasting value of his own work, C. G. J. found this tiresome. When a lady congratulated him on having such a distinguished brother, he retorted, "Pardon me, madame, but I am my brother."
C. Fadiman, The Faber Book of Anecdotes, Faber and Faber, 1985

Ask her to wait a moment - I am almost done.
Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855), while working, when informed that his wife is dying

I find television very educational. Every time someone switches it on I go into another room and read a good book.
Groucho Marx (1895-1977)

Give me a museum and I'll fill it.
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.
Archimedes, (287-212) BC. King Hiero, who was absolutely astonished by the statement, asked him to prove it. In the harbour was the Syracusia, a 55 meters long ship, that had proved impossible to launch even by the combined efforts of many men from Syracuse. Archimedes, who had been examining the properties of levers and pulleys, built a machine that allowed him to single-handedly move the ship, that included the complete crew, from a distance away.

Let him who would move the world first move himself.
Socrates (469-399 B.C.)

Not only is there no God, but try finding a plumber on Sunday.
Woody Allen (1935-)

To be is to do. Socrates
To do is to be. Aristotle
Do-Be-Do-Be-Do... Sinatra

The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in time of great moral crises maintain their neutrality.
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)

My advice to you is getting married: if you find a good wife you'll be happy; if not, you'll become a philosopher.
Socrates (469-399 B.C.)

Hofstadter's Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law.
Hofstadter, Douglas R. (1945 - ) Gödel, Escher, Bach 1979.

Like almost everyone who uses e-mail, I receive a ton of spam every day. Much of it offers to help me get out of debt or get rich quick. It would be funny if it weren't so irritating.
Bill Gates (1955-) Toward a Spam-Free Future and Why I Hate Spam

One evening Rutherford noticed a hard-working student in his lab and asked him:
"Do you work in the mornings, too?"
"Yes," proudly answered the student expecting that he would be commended.
"But when do you think?" asked amazed Rutherford.

I don't know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing -- a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process, an integral function of the universe.
Buckminster Fuller(1895-1983)

A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space.
We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest.
A kind of optical delusion of consciousness.
This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.
Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty...
We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

We are, each of us angels with only one wing; and we can only fly by embracing one another
Luciano De Crescenzo

The greatest certainty in life is death. The greatest uncertainty is the time.
Carl Sandberg

And thus spake Zarathustra unto the people:
It is time for man to fix his goal. It is time for man to plant the germ of his highest hope.
Still is his soil rich enough for it. But that soil will one day be poor and exhausted, and no lofty tree will any longer be able to grow thereon.
Alas! there cometh the time when man will no longer launch the arrow of his longing beyond man—and the string of his bow will have unlearned to whizz!
I tell you: one must still have chaos in one, to give birth to a dancing star. I tell you: ye have still chaos in you.
Alas! There cometh the time when man will no longer give birth to any star. Alas! There cometh the time of the most despicable man, who can no longer despise himself.
Lo! I show you THE LAST MAN.
“What is love? What is creation? What is longing? What is a star?”—so asketh the last man and blinketh
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) Thus Spoke Zarathustra, A Book for All and None (1883-85), is one of Nietzsche's most famous works, and Nietzsche himself regarded it as among his most significant. Thirty years after its initial publication, 150000 copies of the work were printed by the German government and issued as inspirational reading, along with the Bible, to the young soldiers during WWI.

Plato was a bore.
Friedrich Nietzsche in What I Owe to the Ancients. "I am no man. I am dynamite", said Nietzsche, who studied theology and piano before turning to philosophy. Nietzsche describes himself as "a follower of the philosopher Dionysus" in Ecce Homo, How One Becomes What One Is (October-November 1888) He begins this fateful intellectual autobiography with three eyebrow-raising sections entitled, "Why I Am So Wise", "Why I Am So Clever" and "Why I Write Such Good Books". Nietzsche concludes Ecce Homo with the section, "Why I Am a Destiny". He claims that he is a destiny because he regards his anti-moral truths as having the annihilating power of intellectual dynamite; he expects them to topple the morality born of sickness which he perceives to have been reigning within Western culture for the last two thousand years. In this way, Nietzsche expresses his hope that Dionysus, the god of life's exuberance, would replace Jesus, the god of the heavenly otherworld, as the premier cultural standard for future millennia. On the morning of January 3, 1889, while in Turin, Nietzsche experienced a mental breakdown which left him an invalid, eleven years before an early death at 56. Upon witnessing a horse being whipped by a coachman at the Piazza Carlo Alberto, Nietzsche threw his arms around the horse's neck and collapsed, never to return to full sanity.

Nietzsche was stupid and abnormal.
Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)

Rutherford was happy to learn in 1908 that his "investigation in regard to decay of elements and . . . the chemistry of radioactive substances" had won him the Nobel prize. But he was upset that it was not for work in physics but in chemistry, which he saw as lesser discipline like many other physcists. (At this time, research involving the elements was considered chemistry, which is why Rutherford was given the Nobel prize in that science.) In the customary speech given by each Nobel prize winner he could not help but remark dryly that he had observed many transformations in his radioactive work but never had seen one quite so rapid as his own, from physicist to chemist.
B. Cline, Men Who Made a New Physics, University of Chicago, 1965


When written in Chinese the word 'crisis' is composed of two characters. One represents danger, and the other represents opportunity.
John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)

I have learned through bitter experience the one supreme lesson to conserve my anger, and as heat conserved is transmitted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmitted into a power that can move the world.
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

Six is a number perfect in itself, and not because God created the world in six days; rather the contrary is true. God created the world in six days because this number is perfect, and it would remain perfect, even if the work of the six days did not exist.
St. Augustine (354-430) The City of God. Perfect numbers are those numbers that equal the sum of all their divisors including 1 and excluding the number itself. 6 is perfect because it can be divided by 1,2,3 and their sum is also 6.

As far as the Laws of Mathematics refer to Reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to Reality
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance, how violently I hate all this, how despicable an ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

The lovers may also sit on the terrace of the palace or house, and enjoy the moonlight, and carry on an agreeable conversation. At this time, too, while the woman lies in his lap, with her face towards the moon, the citizen should show her the different planets, the morning star, the polar star, and the seven Rishis, or Great Bear. Kama Sutra

I asked my grand-father to give me an advice and he told me:
reach whatever you can reach.
I asked him again to give me a more difficult advice and he told me:
reach whatever you can not reach!
Nikos Kazantzakis, "Report to El-Greco"

· Rassistic (pro and contra)

If you see a Bulgarian on the street, beat him. He will know why.
A venerable Russian adage

It [aviation] is a tool specially shaped for Western hands, a scientific art which others only copy in a mediocre fashion, another barrier between the teeming millions of Asia and the Grecian inheritance of Europe, one of those priceless possessions which permit the White race to live at all in a pressing sea of Yellow, Black, and Brown.
Charles Lindbergh, Aviation, Race and Geography," Reader's Digest, November, 1939

Of course we are better than those damn Serbs. Our alphabet has four more letters!
A Montenegrin, interviewed in connection with an article about Montenegro's efforts to separate from Serbia

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, shelo asani ishah ..
Each morning, when Orthodox and Conservative Jews say their daily blessings, the men among them recite this prayer: "Blessed are You, O Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, Who did not make me a woman." Another prayer praises God “shelo asani goy”, for not making me a gentile. This negative statement implies that there is something wrong with being a non-Jew but according to discussions it has been changed to “she-asani Yisrael” thanking God to be a Jew which can be considered to be proud to be a Jew without saying that it is bad to be a non-Jew
. Is buddhism better? A prayer for example for women : “I wish that she is a man in her next life”

If relativity is proved right the Germans will call me a German, the Swiss will call me a Swiss citizen, and the French will call me a great scientist. If relativity is proved wrong the French will call me a Swiss, the Swiss will call me a German, and the Germans will call me a Jew. Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave nor free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
Paul, Galatians 3:28, a Jew who probably also thanked before God that he is a men and a Jew and not a slave until some day suddenly he changed his mind. Interesting also how this relates to the fact that mainly men and not women are priests and why Jesus has selected only men as apostles and no woman. Because he was a realist who knew that women at his time were not considered important?

·My Favorite quotation

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Paul , 1 Corinthians 13 (What has the clanging cymbal to do with ancient Greeks? St. Paul: 1Corinthians,Ch.13 The use of tuned Helmholz resonators as amplification in the ancient theaters. ) . Maybe Paul was inspired from Plato's Cratylus: Cratylus: I should say that he would be putting himself in motion to no purpose; and that his words would be an unmeaning sound like the noise of hammering at a brazen pot. Childhood's End, the Mystery of Order

Science Quotes

Wisdom and Spirituality Quotes