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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index S > Baron C.P. Snow Quotes

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Baron C.P. Snow
(15 Oct 1905 - 1 Jul 1980)

English physicist, novelist and government administrator.


Science Quotes by Baron C.P. Snow (10 quotes)

A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists. Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is about the scientific equivalent of: Have you read a work of Shakespeare's?
— Baron C.P. Snow
The Two Cultures: The Rede Lecture (1959), 14-5.
Science quotes on:  |  Asking (18)  |  Company (14)  |  Culture (44)  |  Educated (2)  |  Equivalent (7)  |  Gathering (5)  |  Illiteracy (2)  |  Incredulity (2)  |  Negative (10)  |  People (72)  |  Reading (25)  |  Response (8)  |  Second Law Of Thermodynamics (9)  |  William Shakespeare (63)  |  Standard (15)  |  Traditional (2)

A scientist has to be neutral in his search for the truth, but he cannot be neutral as to the use of that truth when found. If you know more than other people, you have more responsibility, rather than less.
— Baron C.P. Snow
As quoted in J. Robert Moskin, Morality in America, 61. Otherwise unconfirmed in this form. Please contact webmaster if you know a primary print source.
Science quotes on:  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Less (15)  |  More (7)  |  Neutral (4)  |  Responsibility (24)  |  Scientist (237)  |  Search (40)  |  Truth (450)  |  Use (54)

Davy was the type of all the jumped-up second-raters of all time.
— Baron C.P. Snow
Spoken by the fictional character, Luard, an unhappy school chemistry teacher in the novel The Search (1932), 21.
Science quotes on:  |  Biography (199)  |  Sir Humphry Davy (39)

Einstein, twenty-six years old, only three years away from crude privation, still a patent examiner, published in the Annalen der Physik in 1905 five papers on entirely different subjects. Three of them were among the greatest in the history of physics. One, very simple, gave the quantum explanation of the photoelectric effect—it was this work for which, sixteen years later, he was awarded the Nobel prize. Another dealt with the phenomenon of Brownian motion, the apparently erratic movement of tiny particles suspended in a liquid: Einstein showed that these movements satisfied a clear statistical law. This was like a conjuring trick, easy when explained: before it, decent scientists could still doubt the concrete existence of atoms and molecules: this paper was as near to a direct proof of their concreteness as a theoretician could give. The third paper was the special eory of relativity, which quietly amalgamated space, time, and matter into one fundamental unity. This last paper contains no references and quotes no authority. All of them are written in a style unlike any other theoretical physicist's. They contain very little mathematics. There is a good deal of verbal commentary. The conclusions, the bizarre conclusions, emerge as though with the greatest of ease: the reasoning is unbreakable. It looks as though he had reached the conclusions by pure thought, unaided, without listening to the opinions of others. To a surprisingly large extent, that is precisely what he had done.
— Baron C.P. Snow
Variety of Men (1966), 100-1.
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For the first time I saw a medley of haphazard facts fall into line and order. All the jumbles and recipes and hotchpotch of the inorganic chemistry of my boyhood seemed to fit into the scheme before my eyes—as though one were standing beside a jungle and it suddenly transformed itself into a Dutch garden.
[Upon hearing the Periodic Table explained in a first-tern university lecture.]
— Baron C.P. Snow
As described by the central character in the novel by C.P. Snow, The Search (1958), 27.
Science quotes on:  |  Boyhood (2)  |  Enlightenment (7)  |  Fact (325)  |  Garden (10)  |  Inorganic Chemistry (4)  |  Jumble (2)  |  Jungle (5)  |  Order (60)  |  Periodic Table (10)  |  Recipe (4)  |  Scheme (8)

I felt I was moving among two groups [literary intellectuals and scientists] comparable in intelligence, identical in race, not grossly different in social origin, earning about the same incomes, who had almost ceased to communicate at all, who in intellectual, moral and psychological climate had so little in common that instead of going from Burlington Hom or South Kensington to Chelsea, one might have crossed an ocean.
— Baron C.P. Snow
The Two Cultures: The Rede Lecture (1959), 2
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I should never have made a good scientist, but I should have made a perfectly adequate one.
— Baron C.P. Snow
Interview with John Halperin. C. P. Snow, An Oral Biography, (1983), 11.
Science quotes on:  |  Adequate (6)  |  Good (81)  |  Scientist (237)

I think, on the whole that scientists make slightly better husbands and fathers than most of us, and I admire them for it.
— Baron C.P. Snow
Quoted in I. Langmuir, Langmuir: The Man and the Scientist (1962), 97.
Science quotes on:  |  Admiration (23)  |  Better (41)  |  Father (17)  |  Husband (5)  |  Scientist (237)

Literary intellectuals at one pole—at the other scientists, and as the most representative, the physical scientists. Between the two a gulf of mutual incomprehension—sometimes (particularly among the young) hostility and dislike, but most of all lack of understanding.
— Baron C.P. Snow
The Two Cultures: The Rede Lecture (1959), 4.
Science quotes on:  |  Dislike (9)  |  Gulf (3)  |  Hostility (3)  |  Intellectual (13)  |  Lack (14)  |  Literary (3)  |  Mutual (12)  |  Physical Science (32)  |  Pole (7)  |  Representative (5)  |  Scientist (237)  |  Understanding (231)

One day at Fenner's (the university cricket ground at Cambridge), just before the last war, G. H. Hardy and I were talking about Einstein. Hardy had met him several times, and I had recently returned from visiting him. Hardy was saying that in his lifetime there had only been two men in the world, in all the fields of human achievement, science, literature, politics, anything you like, who qualified for the Bradman class. For those not familiar with cricket, or with Hardy's personal idiom, I ought to mention that “the Bradman class” denoted the highest kind of excellence: it would include Shakespeare, Tolstoi, Newton, Archimedes, and maybe a dozen others. Well, said Hardy, there had only been two additions in his lifetime. One was Lenin and the other Einstein.
— Baron C.P. Snow
Variety of Men (1966), 87.
Science quotes on:  |  Achievement (73)  |  Addition (12)  |  Archimedes (13)  |  Cricket (5)  |  Albert Einstein (174)  |  Excellence (18)  |  Field (69)  |  G. H. Hardy (41)  |  Human (168)  |  Idiom (3)  |  Lenin_Vladimir (2)  |  Lifetime (10)  |  Literature (33)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (176)  |  Personal (16)  |  Politics (52)  |  Science (875)  |  William Shakespeare (63)  |  Count Leo Tolstoy (6)  |  Visit (4)



Quotes by others about Baron C.P. Snow (1)

The landed classes neglected technical education, taking refuge in classical studies; as late as 1930, for example, long after Ernest Rutherford at Cambridge had discovered the atomic nucleus and begun transmuting elements, the physics laboratory at Oxford had not been wired for electricity. Intellectual neglect technical education to this day.
[Describing C.P. Snow's observations on the neglect of technical education.]
In Visions of Technology (1999), 23.
Science quotes on:  |  Atom (164)  |  Cambridge (6)  |  Class (27)  |  Discovery (360)  |  Electricity (82)  |  Element (68)  |  Intellectual (13)  |  Laboratory (75)  |  Neglect (10)  |  Nucleus (21)  |  Oxford (3)  |  Physics (156)  |  Transmutation (10)


See also:
  • todayinsci icon 15 Oct - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Snow's birth.

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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