My dear Kepler, what would you say of the learned here, who, replete with the pertinacity of the asp, have steadfastly refused to cast a glance through the telescope? What shall we make of this? Shall we laugh, or shall we cry?
It seems to me that it was well said by Madama Serenissima, and insisted on by your reverence, that the Holy Scripture cannot err, and that the decrees therein contained are absolutely true and inviolable. But I should have in your place added that, though Scripture cannot err, its expounders and interpreters are liable to err in many ways; and one error in particular would be most grave and most frequent, if we always stopped short at the literal signification of the words.
Some years ago, as Your Serene Highness well knows, I discovered in the heavens many things that had not been seen before our own age. The novelty of these things, as well as some consequences which followed from them in contradiction to the physical notions commonly held among academic philosophers, stirred up against me no small number of professors — as if I had placed these things in the sky with my own hands in order to upset nature and overturn the sciences. They seemed to forget that the increase of known truths stimulates the investigation, establishment, and growth of the arts; not their diminution or destruction.
... To this end they make a shield of their hypocritical zeal for religion. They go about invoking the Bible, which they would have minister to their deceitful purposes. Contrary to the sense of the Bible and the intention of the holy Fathers, if I am not mistaken, they would extend such authorities until even in purely physical matters — where faith is not involved — they would have us altogether abandon reason and the evidence of our senses in favor of some biblical passage, though under the surface meaning of its words this passage may contain a different sense.
I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use and by some other means to give us knowledge which we can attain by them.
I would say here something that was heard from an ecclesiastic of the most eminent degree: "The intention of the Holy Spirit is to teach us how one goes to heaven, not how the heavens go.
... the habitation which with generous pity was assigned to me, was that of the dearest friend I had in Siena, Monsignor the Archbishop Piccolomini, whose most agreeable conversation I enjoyed with such quite and satisfaction of mind, that having there resumed my studies, ...
Plato is my friend - Aristotle is my friend - but my greatest friend is truth.
If I have seen further it is by standing on the sholders of Giants.
To myself I am only a child playing on the beach, while vast oceans of truth lie undiscovered before me.
To explain all nature is too difficult a task for any one man or even for any one age. 'Tis much better to do a little with certainty, & leave the rest for others that come after you, than to explain all things by conjecture without making sure of any thing.
It is the perfection of God's works that they are all done with the greatest simplicity. He is the God of order and not of confusion.
Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.
We must be righteous & do to all men as we would they should do to us.
All men's miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.
Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it.
The strength of a man's virtue should not be measured by his special exertions, but by his habitual acts.
Love has reasons which reason cannot understand.
The immortality of the soul is a matter which is of so great consequence to us and which touches us so profoundly that we must have lost all feeling to be indifferent about it.
Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much.
Nothing gives rest but the sincere search for truth.
There are two kinds of people one can call reasonable: those who serve God with all their heart because they know him, and those who seek him with all their heart because they do not know him.
Vanity of science. Knowledge of physical science will not console me for ignorance of morality in time of affliction, but knowledge of morality will always console me for ignorance of physical science.
One must know oneself. If this does not serve to discover truth, it at least serves as a rule of life and there is nothing better.
Richard P. Feynman:
By honest I don't mean that you only tell what's true. But you make clear the entire situation. You make clear all the information that is required for somebody else who is intelligent to make up their mind.
Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars - mere globs of gas atoms. I, too, can see the stars on a desert night, and feel them. But do I see less or more?
Reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.
I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.
You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.
"We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems.
There are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can,
improve the solutions and pass them on. It is our responsibility to leave the man of the future a free hand.
In the impetuous youth of humanity, we can make grave errors that can stunt our growth for a long time. This we
will do if we say we have the answers now, so young and ignorant; if we suppress all discussion, all critisism,
saying, "This is it, boys, man is saved!" and thus doom man for a long time to the chains of authority, confined
to the limits of our present imagination. It has been done so many times before.
It is our responsibility as scientists, knowing the great progress and great value of a satisfactory philosophy
of ignorance, the great progress that is the fruit of freedom of thought, to proclaim the value of this freedom,
to teach how doubt is not to be feared but welcomed and discussed, and to demand this freedom as our duty to all
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science."
"A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labours of other men,
living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received."
"Reading after a certain time diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too
much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking."
"I soon learned to scent out what was able to lead to fundamentals and to turn aside from everything
else, from the multitude of things that clutter up the mind."
Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.
I am by heritage a Jew, by citizenship a Swiss, and by makeup a human being, and only a human being, without any special attachment to any state or national entity whatsoever.
In science, moreover, the work of the individual is so bound up with that of his scientific predecessors and contemporaries that it appears almost as an impersonal product of his generation.
[I do not] carry such information in my mind since it is readily available in books. ...The value of a college education is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think.
Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding. You cannot subjugate a nation forcibly unless you wipe out every man, woman, and child. Unless you wish to use such drastic measures, you must find a way of settling your disputes without resort to arms.
Why does this magnificent applied science which saves work and makes life easier bring us so little happiness? The simple answer runs: Because we have not yet learned to make sensible use of it.
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.
Why is it nobody understands me and everybody likes me?
So many people today - and even professional scientists - seem to me like someone who has seen thousands of trees but has never seen a forest. A knowledge of the historic and philosophical background gives that kind of independence from prejudices of his generation from which most scientists are suffering. This independence created by philosophical insight is - in my opinion - the mark of distinction between a mere artisan or specialist and a real seeker after truth.
The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessary solving of an existing one.
The ideals that have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth.
Although I am a typical loner in daily life, my consciousness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty, and justice has preserved me from feeling isolated.
"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child."
"Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas."
"I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy."
"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence
in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained."
"Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood"
"You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end each of us must
work for his own improvement, and at the same time share a general responsibility for all humanity,
our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful."
"Scientific work must not be considered from the point of view of the direct usefulness of it. It must
be done for itself, for the beauty of science, and then there is always the chance that a scientific
discovery may become like the radium, a benefit"
"That one must do some work seriously and must be independent and not merely amuse oneself in
life -- this our mother has told us always, but never that science was the only career worth
following." - Irene Joliet-Curie
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