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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index C > Winston Churchill Quotes

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Winston Churchill
(30 Nov 1874 - 24 Jan 1965)

British author and Prime Minister.

Science Quotes by Winston Churchill (22 quotes)

... in time of war, soldiers, however sensible, care a great deal more on some occasions about slaking their thirst than about the danger of enteric fever.
[Better known as typhoid, the disease is often spread by drinking contaminated water.]
— Winston Churchill
Parliamentaray Debate (21 Mar 1902). Quoted in Winston Churchill and Richard Langworth (ed.), Churchill by Himself: The Definitive Collection of Quotations (2008), 469.
Science quotes on:  |  Typhoid (4)  |  War (79)  |  Water (122)

... we ought to have saints' days to commemorate the great discoveries which have been made for all mankind, and perhaps for all time—or for whatever time may be left to us. Nature ... is a prodigal of pain. I should like to find a day when we can take a holiday, a day of jubilation when we can fκte good Saint Anaesthesia and chaste and pure Saint Antiseptic. ... I should be bound to celebrate, among others, Saint Penicillin...
— Winston Churchill
Speech at Guildhall, London (10 Sep 1947). Collected in Winston Churchill and Randolph Spencer Churchill (ed.), Europe Unite: Speeches, 1947 and 1948 (1950), 138.
Science quotes on:  |  Anesthesia (2)  |  Antiseptic (4)  |  Discovery (360)  |  Holiday (3)  |  Medicine (185)  |  Pain (49)  |  Penicillin (10)  |  Saint (6)

A study of Disease—of Pestilences methodically prepared and deliberately launched upon man and beast—is certainly being pursue in the laboratories of more than one great country. Blight to destroy crops, Anthrax to slay horses and cattle, Plague to poison not armies but whole districts—such are the lines along which military science is remorselessly advancing.
— Winston Churchill
'Shall We All Commit Suicide?'. Pall Mall (Sep 1924). Reprinted in Thoughts and Adventures (1932), 250.
Science quotes on:  |  Army (8)  |  Cow (18)  |  Disease (170)  |  Horse (17)  |  Laboratory (75)  |  Military Science (2)  |  Pestilence (6)  |  Plague (30)  |  Poison (23)

An extra yawn one morning in the springtime, an extra snooze one night in the autumn is all that we ask in return for dazzling gifts. We borrow an hour one night in April; we pay it back with golden interest five months later.
— Winston Churchill
As quoted in David Prerau, Seize the Daylight: The Curious And Contentious Story of Daylight (2006).
Science quotes on:  |  April (3)  |  Ask (23)  |  Autumn (3)  |  Back (17)  |  Borrow (4)  |  Daylight Saving Time (8)  |  Dazzling (7)  |  Extra (4)  |  Gift (26)  |  Golden (2)  |  Hour (13)  |  Interest (82)  |  Month (7)  |  Morning (11)  |  Night (26)  |  Pay (8)

Immense deposits of kimmeridge clay, containing the oil-bearing bands or seams, stretch across England from Dorsetshire to Lincolnshire. [An early political recognition of the native resource. The Geological Survey had identified the inflammable oil shale in reports since at least 1888.]
— Winston Churchill
On 17 Jul 1913. Quoted in Winston Churchill and Richard Langworth (ed.), Churchill by Himself: The Definitive Collection of Quotations (2008), 269. For earlier report of the kimmerage clay, see Memoirs of the Geological Survey: England and Wales: The Geology of the Country Around Lincoln (1888), 81.
Science quotes on:  |  Energy (103)  |  England (17)  |  Oil (19)

It is a very strange thing to reflect that but for the invention of Professor Haber the Germans could not have continued the War after their original stack of nitrates was exhausted. The invention of this single man has enabled them, utilising the interval in which their accumulations were used up, not only to maintain an almost unlimited supply of explosives for all purposes, but to provide amply for the needs of agriculture in chemical manures. It is a remarkable fact, and shows on what obscure and accidental incidents the fortunes of possible the whole world may turn in these days of scientific discovery.
[During World War I, Fritz Haber and Karl Bosch invented a large scale process to cause the direct combination of hydrogen and nitrogen gases to chemically synthesize ammonia, thus providing a replacement for sodium nitrate in the manufacture of explosives and fertilizers.]
— Winston Churchill
Parliamentary debate (25 Apr 1918). In Winston Churchill, Richard Langworth (ed.), Churchill by Himself: The Definitive Collection of Quotations‎ (2008), 469. by Winston Churchill, Richard Langworth
Science quotes on:  |  Ammonia (4)  |  Discovery (360)  |  Explosive (7)  |  Fertilizer (8)  |  Fritz Haber (4)  |  Industrial Chemistry (3)  |  Invention (174)  |  Reaction (48)  |  Synthesis (23)  |  War (79)

It is arguable whether the human race have been gainers by the march of science beyond the steam engine. Electricity opens a field of infinite conveniences to ever greater numbers, but they may well have to pay dearly for them. But anyhow in my thought I stop short of the internal combustion engine which has made the world so much smaller. Still more must we fear the consequences of entrusting a human race so little different from their predecessors of the so-called barbarous ages such awful agencies as the atomic bomb. Give me the horse.
— Winston Churchill
Address to the Royal College of Surgeons (10 Jul 1951). Collected in Stemming the Tide: Speeches 1951 and 1952 (1953), 91.
Science quotes on:  |  Atomic Bomb (71)  |  Convenience (11)  |  Electricity (82)  |  Engine (10)  |  Horse (17)  |  Human Race (29)  |  Invention (174)  |  Progress (200)  |  Steam Engine (21)  |  War (79)

It may be that ... when the advance of destructive weapons enables everyone to kill everybody else nobody will want to kill anyone at all. [Referring to the hydrogen bomb.]
— Winston Churchill
Parliamentary debate concerning the hydrogen bomb (Nov 1953). In Robert Rhodes James, ed. Winston Churchill: His Complete Speeches, 1897-1963 (1974), Vol. 6, p.8505.
Science quotes on:  |  Advance (52)  |  Destruction (52)  |  Everybody (4)  |  Everyone (6)  |  Hydrogen Bomb (5)  |  Killing (9)  |  Nobody (14)  |  Weapon (35)

May there not be methods of using explosive energy incomparably more intense than anything heretofore discovered? Might not a bomb no bigger than an orange be found to possess a secret power to destroy a whole block of buildings—nay, to concentrate the force of a thousand tons of cordite and blast a township at a stroke? Could not explosives even of the existing type be guided automatically in flying machines by wireless or other rays, without a human pilot, in ceaseless procession upon a hostile city, arsenal, camp or dockyard?
— Winston Churchill
'Shall We All Commit Suicide?'. Pall Mall (Sep 1924). Reprinted in Thoughts and Adventures (1932), 250.
Science quotes on:  |  Atomic Bomb (71)  |  Energy (103)  |  Explosive (7)  |  Missile (3)  |  Orange (2)  |  War (79)

New sources of power ... will surely be discovered. Nuclear energy is incomparably greater than the molecular energy we use today. The coal a man can get in a day can easily do five hundred times as much work as himself. Nuclear energy is at least one million times more powerful still. If the hydrogen atoms in a pound of water could be prevailed upon to combine and form helium, they would suffice to drive a thousand-horsepower engine for a whole year. If the electrons, those tiny planets of the atomic systems, were induced to combine with the nuclei in hydrogen, the horsepower would be 120 times greater still. There is no question among scientists that this gigantic source of energy exists. What is lacking is the match to set the bonfire aight, or it may be the detonator to cause the dynamite to explode. The scientists are looking for this.
[In his last major speech to the House of Commons on 1 Mar 1955, Churchill quoted from his original printed article, nearly 25 years earlier.]
— Winston Churchill
'Fifty Years Hence'. Strand Magazine (Dec 1931). Reprinted in Popular Mechanics (Mar 1932), 57:3, 395.
Science quotes on:  |  Atom (164)  |  Dynamite (2)  |  Electron (43)  |  Energy (103)  |  Engine (10)  |  Fusion (7)  |  Helium (6)  |  Hydrogen (25)  |  Nuclear Bomb (4)  |  Nucleus (21)  |  Water (122)

On 17th July there came to us at Potsdam the eagerly-awaited news of the trial of the atomic bomb in the [New] Mexican desert. Success beyond all dreams crowded this sombre, magnificent venture of our American allies. The detailed reports ... could leave no doubt in the minds of the very few who were informed, that we were in the presence of a new factor in human affairs, and possessed of powers which were irresistible.
— Winston Churchill
From Churchill's final review of the war and his first major speech as Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons (16 Aug 1945). In Robert Rhodes James, ed., Winston S. Churchill: His Complete Speeches, 1897-1963 (1974), Vol. 1, 7210.
Science quotes on:  |  Affair (10)  |  American (12)  |  Atomic Bomb (71)  |  Detail (33)  |  Doubt (67)  |  Dream (39)  |  Factor (15)  |  Human (168)  |  Information (56)  |  Irresistible (4)  |  Los Alamos (2)  |  Magnificent (8)  |  Mind (272)  |  New (107)  |  Possession (24)  |  Power (103)  |  Presence (10)  |  Report (15)  |  Success (114)  |  Test (46)  |  Trial (14)  |  Trinity (2)  |  Venture (5)

Praise up the humanities, my boy. That will make them think that you are broad-minded.
— Winston Churchill
Said to R. V. Jones in 'Science, Technology and Civilisation', Bulletin of the Institute of Physics, 1962, 13, 101.
Science quotes on:  |  Humanities (2)

Science burrows its insulted head in the filth of slaughterous inventions.
— Winston Churchill
Article in the Evening Standard (Sep 1936). Maxims and Reflections (1947), 176.
Science quotes on:  |  Insult (2)  |  Invention (174)  |  Science (875)  |  Weapon (35)

Science unfolded her treasures and her secrets to the desperate demands of men, and placed in their hands agencies and apparatus almost decisive in their character.
Reflecting on the outcome of World War I, and an ominous future.
— Winston Churchill
The Second World War: The Gathering Storm (1948, 1986), Vol. 1, 35. Quoting himself from his earlier book, The Aftermath: Being a Sequel to The World Crisis‎ (1929).
Science quotes on:  |  Discovery (360)  |  Science (875)  |  Treasure (16)  |  War (79)  |  Weapon (35)

Scientists should be on tap, but not on top.
— Winston Churchill
Quoted in Randolph S. Churchill, Twenty-One Years (1964), 127.
Science quotes on:  |  Scientist (237)

The Dark Ages may return—the Stone Age may return on the gleaming wings of Science; and what might now shower immeasureable material blessings upon mankind may even bring about its total destruction. Beware! I say. Time may be short.
Referring to the discovery of atomic energy.
— Winston Churchill
“Iron Curtain” speech at Fulton, Missouri (5 Mar 1946). Maxims and Reflections (1947), 164.
Science quotes on:  |  Beware (5)  |  Blessing (4)  |  Dark Ages (4)  |  Destruction (52)  |  Immeasurable (2)  |  Mankind (111)  |  Material (60)  |  Return (13)  |  Science (875)  |  Stone Age (3)  |  Wing (16)

The point [is] largely scientific in character …[concerning] the methods which can be invented or adopted or discovered to enable the Earth to control the Air, to enable defence from the ground to exercise control—indeed dominance—upon aeroplanes high above its surface. … science is always able to provide something. We were told that it was impossible to grapple with submarines, but methods were found … Many things were adopted in war which we were told were technically impossible, but patience, perseverance, and above all the spur of necessity under war conditions, made men’s brains act with greater vigour, and science responded to the demands.
[Remarks made in the House of Commons on 7 June 1935. His speculation was later proved correct with the subsequent development of radar during World War II, which was vital in the air defence of Britain.]
— Winston Churchill
Quoting himself in The Second World War: The Gathering Storm (1948, 1986), Vol. 1, 134.
Science quotes on:  |  Airplane (16)  |  Defense (8)  |  Invention (174)  |  Radar (5)  |  War (79)

This revelation of the secrets of nature, long mercifully withheld from man, should arouse the most solemn reflections in the mind and conscience of every human being capable of comprehension. We must indeed pray that these awful agencies will be made to conduce to peace among the nations, and that instead of wreaking measureless havoc upon the entire globe, may become a perennial fountain of world prosperity.
[Concerning use of the atomic bomb.]
— Winston Churchill
Statement drafted by Churchill following the use of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Due to the change in government, the statement was released by Clement Attlee (6 Aug 1945). In Sir Winston Churchill, Victory: War Speeches by the Right Hon. Winston Churchill (1946), 289.
Science quotes on:  |  Agency (5)  |  Arousal (2)  |  Atomic Bomb (71)  |  Awful (3)  |  Capability (27)  |  Comprehension (30)  |  Conscience (16)  |  Fountain (7)  |  Globe (20)  |  Havoc (3)  |  Human Being (16)  |  Mercy (4)  |  Mind (272)  |  Nation (47)  |  Nature (534)  |  Peace (23)  |  Prayer (8)  |  Prosperity (6)  |  Reflection (26)  |  Revelation (24)  |  Secret (44)  |  World (231)

Victory [in war] is the beautiful, bright-coloured flower. Transport is the stem without which it could never have blossomed. (1899)
— Winston Churchill
In The River War (2004), 87.
Science quotes on:  |  Transport (3)

We used to be a source of fuel; we are increasingly becoming a sink. These supplies of foreign liquid fuel are no doubt vital to our industry, but our ever-increasing dependence upon them ought to arouse serious and timely reflection. The scientific utilisation, by liquefaction, pulverisation and other processes, or our vast and magnificent deposits of coal, constitutes a national object of prime importance.
— Winston Churchill
Parliamentary Debate (24 Apr 1928). Quoted in Winston Churchill and Richard Langworth (ed.), Churchill by Himself: The Definitive Collection of Quotations (2008), 469.
Science quotes on:  |  Coal (20)  |  Energy (103)  |  Fuel (16)  |  Oil (19)

You cannot ask us to take sides against arithmetic.
— Winston Churchill
Science quotes on:  |  Against (5)  |  Arithmetic (38)  |  Asking (18)  |  Side (16)  |  Statistics (82)  |  Taking (8)

[Should Britain fail, then the entire world would] sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister ... by the lights of perverted science.
— Winston Churchill
“Finest Hour” speech after Dunkirk during WW II (18 Jun 1940). In Robert Rhodes James, ed. Winston Churchill: His Complete Speeches, 1897-1963 (1974), Vol. 6, p.6238.
Science quotes on:  |  Abyss (9)  |  Dark Ages (4)  |  Science (875)  |  Sinister (7)



Quotes by others about Winston Churchill (1)

I might paraphrase Churchill and say: never have I received so much for so little.
[Exemplifying humility, upon accepting the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.]
In Banquet Speech, Stokholm (10 Dec 1970). Nobelprize.org website.
Science quotes on:  |  Humility (12)  |  Little (29)  |  Much (2)  |  Receive (6)


Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Euclid
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Bible
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
Avicenna
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
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Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
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John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
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Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
Archimedes
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
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Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
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Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Hippocrates
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
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- 10 -
Aristotle
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Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton