Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “I have no satisfaction in formulas unless I feel their arithmetical magnitude.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index N > Category: Narrow

Narrow Quotes (10 quotes)

A discovery in science, or a new theory, even when it appears most unitary and most all-embracing, deals with some immediate element of novelty or paradox within the framework of far vaster, unanalysed, unarticulated reserves of knowledge, experience, faith, and presupposition. Our progress is narrow; it takes a vast world unchallenged and for granted. This is one reason why, however great the novelty or scope of new discovery, we neither can, nor need, rebuild the house of the mind very rapidly. This is one reason why science, for all its revolutions, is conservative. This is why we will have to accept the fact that no one of us really will ever know very much. This is why we shall have to find comfort in the fact that, taken together, we know more and more.
Science and the Common Understanding (1954), 53-4.
Science quotes on:  |  Acceptance (31)  |  Analysis (82)  |  Articulation (2)  |  Challenge (15)  |  Comfort (18)  |  Conservative (3)  |  Discovery (360)  |  Element (68)  |  Experience (132)  |  Fact (325)  |  Faith (73)  |  Framework (8)  |  House (19)  |  Immediate (8)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Mind (272)  |  Need (57)  |  Novelty (9)  |  Paradox (22)  |  Progress (200)  |  Rapidly (3)  |  Reason (173)  |  Reserve (4)  |  Revolution (34)  |  Scope (6)  |  Theory (353)  |  Vastness (4)

Every complete set of chromosomes contains the full code; so there are, as a rule, two copies of the latter in the fertilized egg cell, which forms the earliest stage of the future individual. In calling the structure of the chromosome fibres a code-script we mean that the all-penetrating mind, once conceived by Laplace, to which every causal connection lay immediately open, could tell from their structure whether the egg would develop, under suitable conditions, into a black cock or into a speckled hen, into a fly or a maize plant, a rhododendron, a beetle, a mouse or a woman. To which we may add, that the appearances of the egg cells are very often remarkably similar; and even when they are not, as in the case of the comparatively gigantic eggs of birds and reptiles, the difference is not so much in the relevant structures as in the nutritive material which in these cases is added for obvious reasons.
But the term code-script is, of course, too narrow. The chromosome structures are at the same time instrumental in bringing about the development they foreshadow. They are law-code and executive power?or, to use another simile, they are architect's plan and builder’s craft-in one.
What is Life? (1944), 21-2.
Science quotes on:  |  Appearance (47)  |  Architect (4)  |  Beetle (5)  |  Bird (57)  |  Builder (5)  |  Cause (122)  |  Cell (90)  |  Chromosome (13)  |  Cock (2)  |  Code (8)  |  Copy (6)  |  Development (122)  |  Egg (27)  |  Executive (2)  |  Fertilization (11)  |  Fly (28)  |  Foreshadow (2)  |  Hen (2)  |  Individual (59)  |  Pierre-Simon Laplace (45)  |  Mouse (16)  |  Plan (40)  |  Plant (96)  |  Reptile (14)  |  Similarity (14)  |  Simile (3)  |  Structure (104)  |  Woman (36)

If we imagine an observer to approach our planet from outer space, and, pushing aside the belts of red-brown clouds which obscure our atmosphere, to gaze for a whole day on the surface of the earth as it rotates beneath him, the feature, beyond all others most likely to arrest his attention would be the wedge-like outlines of the continents as they narrow away to the South.
The Face of the Earth (1904), Vol. 1, 1.
Science quotes on:  |  Approach (16)  |  Arrest (3)  |  Atmosphere (42)  |  Attention (37)  |  Belt (2)  |  Cloud (22)  |  Continent (22)  |  Day (20)  |  Earth (250)  |  Feature (14)  |  Gaze (4)  |  Imagination (130)  |  Observer (10)  |  Outer Space (2)  |  Outline (3)  |  Planet (84)  |  Push (6)  |  Rotation (5)  |  South (3)  |  Surface (37)  |  Wedge (2)

On the whole, I cannot help saying that it appears to me not a little extraordinary, that a theory so new, and of such importance, overturning every thing that was thought to be the best established in chemistry, should rest on so very narrow and precarious a foundation, the experiments adduced in support of it being not only ambiguous or explicable on either hypothesis, but exceedingly few. I think I have recited them all, and that on which the greatest stress is laid, viz. That of the formation of water from the decomposition of the two kinds of air, has not been sufficiently repeated. Indeed it required so difficult and expensive an apparatus, and so many precautions in the use of it, that the frequent repetition of the experiment cannot be expected; and in these circumstances the practised experimenter cannot help suspecting the accuracy of the result and consequently the certainty of the conclusion.
Considerations on the Doctrine of Phlogiston (1796), 57-8.
Science quotes on:  |  Accuracy (34)  |  Air (84)  |  Ambiguity (6)  |  Apparatus (18)  |  Certainty (59)  |  Circumstance (25)  |  Conclusion (74)  |  Decomposition (10)  |  Difficulty (76)  |  Establish (10)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Explanation (88)  |  Extraordinary (18)  |  Formation (34)  |  Foundation (31)  |  Hypothesis (150)  |  Importance (106)  |  New (107)  |  Precarious (4)  |  Repeat (11)  |  Result (129)  |  Support (26)  |  Theory (353)  |  Water (122)

Suppose a number of equal waves of water to move upon the surface of a stagnant lake, with a certain constant velocity, and to enter a narrow channel leading out of the lake. Suppose then another similar cause to have excited another equal series of waves, which arrive at the same time, with the first. Neither series of waves will destroy the other, but their effects will be combined: if they enter the channel in such a manner that the elevations of one series coincide with those of the other, they must together produce a series of greater joint elevations; but if the elevations of one series are so situated as to correspond to the depressions of the other, they must exactly fill up those depressions. And the surface of the water must remain smooth; at least I can discover no alternative, either from theory or from experiment.
A Reply to the Animadversions of the Edinburgh Reviewers on Some Papers Published in the Philosophical Transactions (1804), 17-8.
Science quotes on:  |  Alternative (11)  |  Channel (6)  |  Coincidence (6)  |  Combination (37)  |  Constant (14)  |  Depression (8)  |  Destruction (52)  |  Elevation (4)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Greater (16)  |  Interference (7)  |  Lake (6)  |  Smooth (8)  |  Stagnant (2)  |  Supposition (25)  |  Surface (37)  |  Theory (353)  |  Velocity (5)  |  Water (122)  |  Wave (32)

The increasing technicality of the terminology employed is also a serious difficulty. It has become necessary to learn an extensive vocabulary before a book in even a limited department of science can be consulted with much profit. This change, of course, has its advantages for the initiated, in securing precision and concisement of statement; but it tends to narrow the field in which an investigator can labour, and it cannot fail to become, in the future, a serious impediment to wide inductive generalisations.
Year Book of Science (1892), preface, from review in Chemical News and Journal of Physical Science (14 Apr 1892), 65, 190.
Science quotes on:  |  Advantage (22)  |  Book (100)  |  Conciseness (2)  |  Consultation (2)  |  Department (11)  |  Difficulty (76)  |  Extensive (6)  |  Failure (58)  |  Field (69)  |  Generalization (16)  |  Impediment (3)  |  Induction (22)  |  Investigator (13)  |  Necessity (78)  |  Precision (19)  |  Statement (28)  |  Technicality (2)  |  Terminology (4)

The investigation of causal relations between economic phenomena presents many problems of peculiar difficulty, and offers many opportunities for fallacious conclusions. Since the statistician can seldom or never make experiments for himself, he has to accept the data of daily experience, and discuss as best he can the relations of a whole group of changes; he cannot, like the physicist, narrow down the issue to the effect of one variation at a time. The problems of statistics are in this sense far more complex than the problems of physics.
Udny Yule
In 'On the Theory of Correlation', Journal of the Royal Statistical Society (Dec 1897), 60, 812, as cited in Stephen M. Stigler, The History of Statistics: The Measurement of Uncertainty Before 1900 (1986), 348.
Science quotes on:  |  Cause (122)  |  Change (133)  |  Complexity (51)  |  Conclusion (74)  |  Data (59)  |  Difficulty (76)  |  Economics (19)  |  Effect (72)  |  Experience (132)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Investigation (83)  |  Opportunity (20)  |  Phenomenon (114)  |  Physicist (74)  |  Physics (156)  |  Problem (180)  |  Relation (35)  |  Statistician (3)  |  Statistics (82)  |  Time (170)  |  Variation (34)

To divide a cube into two other cubes, a fourth power, or in general any power whatever into two powers of the same denomination above the second is impossible, and I have assuredly found an admirable proof of this, but the margin is too narrow to contain it.
[Known as Fermat's Last Theorem, the proof of which remained elusive until 1994.]
Theorem, beside the eighth proposition of the second book of Diophantus, in Prιcis des Oeuvres Mathιmatiques de P. Fermat et de l'Arithmetique de Diophante (1853), 53-54. As translated by Vera Sandford in David Eugene Smith, A Source Book in Mathematics (1929), 212.
Science quotes on:  |  Admirable (5)  |  Contain (5)  |  Cube (9)  |  Denomination (3)  |  Divide (6)  |  Found (7)  |  Impossible (26)  |  Margin (4)  |  Power (103)  |  Proof (136)  |  Second (8)

We are living in an age of awesome agricultural enterprise that needs to be interpreted. We find our simple faith in science dominated by the Religion of PhDeism under the reign of Data; so narrow in people and often so meaningless in context as to be worthless to the scientific farmer.
Letter to Joshua Lederberg (19 Apr 1970), Joshua Lederberg papers, National Library of Medicine (online). Hildebrand was a response to a Lederberg's letter published in the Washington Post (18 Apr 1970) about 'Ecology Has All Requisites of an Authentic Religion.' Note that Sam Murchid claimed this term PhDeism in another context in his diaries (as seen in diaries of 1964 and others).
Science quotes on:  |  Age (60)  |  Agriculture (19)  |  Awesome (2)  |  Context (7)  |  Data (59)  |  Domination (8)  |  Enterprise (6)  |  Faith (73)  |  Farmer (9)  |  Interpretation (38)  |  Living (24)  |  Meaningless (4)  |  People (72)  |  Reign (5)  |  Religion (120)  |  Scientific (55)  |  Simple (25)  |  Worthless (8)

Without theory, practice is but routine born of habit. Theory alone can bring forth and develop the spirit of invention. ... [Do not] share the opinion of those narrow minds who disdain everything in science which has not an immediate application. ... A theoretical discovery has but the merit of its existence: it awakens hope, and that is all. But let it be cultivated, let it grow, and you will see what it will become.
Inaugural Address as newly appointed Professor and Dean (Sep 1854) at the opening of the new Facultι des Sciences at Lille (7 Dec 1854). In Renι Vallery-Radot, The Life of Pasteur, translated by Mrs. R. L. Devonshire (1919), 76.
Science quotes on:  |  Application (72)  |  Birth (47)  |  Development (122)  |  Everything (38)  |  Habit (42)  |  Immediacy (2)  |  Invention (174)  |  Mind (272)  |  Opinion (81)  |  Practice (26)  |  Routine (4)  |  Sharing (6)  |  Spirit (52)  |  Theory (353)  |  Without (11)


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
Quotations by: • Albert Einstein • Isaac Newton • Lord Kelvin • Charles Darwin • Srinivasa Ramanujan • Carl Sagan • Florence Nightingale • Thomas Edison • Aristotle • Marie Curie • Benjamin Franklin • Winston Churchill • Galileo Galilei • Sigmund Freud • Robert Bunsen • Louis Pasteur • Theodore Roosevelt • Abraham Lincoln • Ronald Reagan • Leonardo DaVinci • Michio Kaku • Karl Popper • Johann Goethe • Robert Oppenheimer • Charles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about: • Atomic  Bomb • Biology • Chemistry • Deforestation • Engineering • Anatomy • Astronomy • Bacteria • Biochemistry • Botany • Conservation • Dinosaur • Environment • Fractal • Genetics • Geology • History of Science • Invention • Jupiter • Knowledge • Love • Mathematics • Measurement • Medicine • Natural Resource • Organic Chemistry • Physics • Physician • Quantum Theory • Research • Science and Art • Teacher • Technology • Universe • Volcano • Virus • Wind Power • Women Scientists • X-Rays • Youth • Zoology  ... (more topics)
Sitewide search within all Today In Science History pages:
Custom Quotations Search - custom search within only our quotations pages:
Visit our Science and Scientist Quotations index for more Science Quotes from archaeologists, biologists, chemists, geologists, inventors and inventions, mathematicians, physicists, pioneers in medicine, science events and technology.

Names index: | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

Categories index: | 1 | 2 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |
Author Icon
who invites your feedback

Today in Science History

Most Popular

Thank you for sharing.
Today in Science History
Sign up for Newsletter
with quiz, quotes and more.
- 100 -
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
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
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
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Hippocrates
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
Aristotle
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton