20 Best Science Quotes From Researchers, Authors, and Leaders
The scientific method can be understood as a process through which experimentation is used to try to find answers to questions that arise from observations. Different researchers, of course, may use different variations of the investigative process depending on their field or focus. Even though specific methods may differ, the goal of performing systematic, scientific investigation remains the same across the board. Scientists strive to find evidence-based answers to important questions by gathering and interpreting data. This is the ultimate aim of scientific exploration.
Different researchers may have different views about the role of science in our society. After all, investigative research is performed by human beings, and as our history has proven repeatedly, a wide range of perspectives inevitably arise. To highlight some of these perspectives, I’ve compiled quotes from important figures in science and other professions below. These famous historic individuals come from a diverse array of fields, but all have contributed immensely to our modern society.
As a rehabilitation counselor with training in the teaching profession, I’ve seen the impact science can have on our daily lives. Reading quotes about science from different individuals reminds me of the limitations and strengths of the procedures and results of our research. Below the quotes, you'll find a note about science and religion and some examples of inference-based science in fields like particle physics, astronomy, and geology.
Quotes From Scientists and Researchers
- “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” —Albert Einstein
- “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” —Albert Einstein
- “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” —Carl Sagan
- “Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.” —Carl Sagan
- “By denying scientific principles, one may maintain any paradox.” —Galileo Galilei
- “Geologists have a saying—rocks remember.” —Neil Armstrong
- “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” —Marie Curie
- “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” —Max Planck
- “Anybody who has been seriously engaged in scientific work of any kind realizes that over the entrance to the gates of the temple of science are written the words: ‘Ye must have faith’” —Max Planck
- “Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge.” —Stephen Hawking
Quotes From Authors
- “If an elderly but distinguished scientist says that something is possible, he is almost certainly right; but if he says that it is impossible, he is very probably wrong.” —Arthur C. Clarke
- “Science never solves a problem without creating ten more.” —George Bernard Shaw
- “The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” —Isaac Asimov
- “There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere.” —Isaac Asimov
- “Science does not know its debt to imagination.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “Touch a scientist and you touch a child.” —Ray Bradbury
Quotes From Philosophers and Leaders
- “Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.” —Immanuel Kant
- “Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.” —Martin Luther King Jr.
- “Each problem that I solved became a rule, which served afterwards to solve other problems.” —Rene Descartes
- “Science is nothing but perception.” —Plato
Science and Religion
Science and religion can have both strengths and weaknesses in any civilization. Science believes that the natural world behaves in a predictable and consistent way. In addition, science is based on testing questions and observations through experiments that can be replicated and confirmed by other researchers. Some experimental sciences include physics, biology, and chemistry.
Religion, however, has a fundamentally different view. Religion often involves the belief in and worship of a controlling source or deity. In general, scientists reject the religious perspective, but a minority of researchers in almost every discipline value religion on a personal level. Indeed, direct observations and experimentation may be impossible in some areas of study because unknowns remain in all fields, leaving room for the consideration of more variables.
Areas of science in which direct observation is sometimes difficult or impossible include archaeology, particle physics, geology, astronomy, paleontology, and evolutionary biology. Indirect observations and studies are often carried out by scientists in these disciplines to make inferences based on the available data. I’ve included some of the methods of discovery used by inferential scientists in a few fields below.
In spite of the divide between science and religion, Max Planck (1858–1947), one of the crucial thinkers involved in the birth of quantum theory, stated that once a person enters the “temple of science,” then he/she must have “faith.” Planck’s theory helped to develop the science of particle physics, which is the study of matter and radiation at the subatomic level.
Particle physicists seek to learn to identify these particles and understand how they interact. However, seeing subatomic particles directly is impossible. Large atomic colliders, such as the one in Geneva, must be used for this purpose. Particle physicists sift through the data after running experiments to determine what subatomic elements appeared and what factors of quantum mechanics contributed to the results.
The science of studying celestial objects and phenomena occurring beyond the Earth's atmosphere is called astronomy or astrophysics. Currently, there are two complementary branches of astronomy: theoretical and observational. Applying basic principles of physics, observational astronomy examines data collected from probes and telescopes.
By contrast, theoretical astronomy involves developing models for describing astronomical phenomena. The expenses and technological hurdles that would need to be overcome to visit faraway galaxies are enormous. At present, many astronomers apply theoretic models to describe how our universe was born and shaped because humankind was not yet around to observe it.
Neil Armstrong (1930–2012), the first human being to step foot on the moon, once said that “rocks hold memories.” Geologists seek to learn about those memories by studying Earth’s physical structure and history along with the processes acting on it. They research plate tectonics, the formation of mountains, and other features of the planet.
Although geologists have yet to visit the core of the Earth, they can use indirect observations to learn about the composition of that part of the planet. These researchers may use a combination of low-tech and high-tech tools, including radar, sonar, and lidar. Many geologists also engage in fieldwork by visiting sites of past and present volcanic activity. For instance, geologists were instrumental in discovering the immense volcanic caldera under Yellowstone National Park.
What is your favorite field of science?
- Astronomy – Wikipedia. Retrieved April 8, 2020, from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astronomy
- Galileo Galilei – Wikipedia. Retrieved April 8, 2020, from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_Galilei
- Science & the Scientific Method: A Definition | Live Science. Retrieved April 10, 2020, from: https://www.livescience.com/20896-science-scientific-method.html