Quotable Quotes

Chance favours the prepared mind.
Louis Pasteur (pasteurization)

Never fear failure nor crave success for the reward is in the doing.
Wilson Greatbatch (pacemaker)

Obey the biblical injunction: seek and ye shall find.
But seek not to find that for which ye seek.
Michael E. Lipschutz (cosmochemist)

A basic element of human nature
is that people feel compelled
to belong to groups and,
having joined,
consider them superior
to competing groups.
Edward O. Wilson (sociobiologist)

Technological creativity, like all creativity, is an act of rebellion.
Without it, we would all still live nasty and short lives of toil,
drudgery, and discomfort.
Joel Mokyr, The Lever Of Riches: Technological Creativity
and Economic Progress, 1990
, page viii.

Technology’s greatest contribution
is to permit people to be incompetent
at a larger and larger range of things.
Only by embracing such incompetence
is the human race able to progress.
Theodore Gray, Beginner’s Guide to
Mathematica Version 3
, 1997, p. 308.

Learning is hard work.
If you are not working hard,
you are not learning.
Theodore Gray, ibid. p. 310.

Thinking well is much harder than anything we do, which is why
many of us will do almost anything to avoid having actually to think
about what we are doing and why.
Lee Smolin, In Search of Einstein. My Einstein: Essays by Twenty-four
of the World’s Leading Thinkers on the Man, His Work, and His Legacy
2006, page 119.

Ideas have long-lasting effects on us,
as surely as, if not more than earthquakes,
droughts, rain, sunshine, and other quirks of nature.
Bernd Heinrich, Life Everlasting: The Animal Way of Death,
2012, page 194

People who are really serious about software
should make their own hardware.
Alan Kay (computer scientist)

Education is a form of time travel.
Mike Lazaridis (RIM founder)

Science is a way to teach
how something gets to be known,
what is not known,
to what extent things are known
(for nothing is known absolutely),
how to handle doubt and uncertainty,
what the rules of evidence are,
how to think about things
so that judgments can be made,
how to distinguish truth from fraud,
and from show.
Richard Feynman (theoretical physicist)

Art is the lie that helps us see the truth.
Pablo Picasso (artist)

We are never alone. For the first nine months of our lives, we live
inside our mother. After birth, we share our bodies with about
a hundred trillion microorganisms, even when we consider ourselves
to be clean. This number is so large that microorganisms outnumber
the human cells of our bodies by about ten to one. When we die these
organisms live on to feed on our remains and on each other until
there is nothing left. Some of these microbes are mere fellow-
travellers, doing us neither good nor harm, but many are important
to the way that our bodies work, and we need them because they can
perform biochemical tricks that human cells have never evolved.
Jamie A. Davies (embryologist) Life Unfolding, 2014, page 208.

Our planet,
our solar system,
our galaxy,
our universe:
all of it,
all of us,
are pushed,
set in motion,
and held together
by what we cannot see.
Kathryn Schulz, The Lure of Invisibility
New Yorker, April 13, 2015, 78.

The most complex [system known to us in the universe]
is the individual natural ecosystem, and the collectivity
of ecosystems comprising Earth’s species-level biodiversity.
Each species of plant, animal, fungus, and microorganism
is guided by sophisticated decision devices.
Edward O. Wilson, Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight For Life, 2016, page 206

It's hard to know which is more astonishing:
that the visible sliver of the universe
should betray
the unseen structure of the entirety,
or that the human mind,
by studying that sliver,
could begin to reconstruct the rest.
Kathryn Schulz, The Lure of Invisibility
New Yorker, April 13, 2015, 78.

I have no doubt that in reality the future
will be vastly more surprising
than anything anyone can imagine.
Now my own suspicion is that the universe
is not only queerer than we suppose
but queerer than we can suppose.
J.B.S. Haldane, Possible Worlds, 1927

We are the mind of the biosphere,
the solar system and –
who can say? –
perhaps the galaxy.
Edward O. Wilson (myrmecologist)