- There is no democracy in physics. We can't say that some second-rate guy has as much right to opinion as Fermi.
The Politics of Pure Science (1969) 1911–88 American physicist: D. S. Greenberg
- Anybody who is not shocked by this subject has failed to understand it.
of quantum mechanics
Nature 23 August 1990 1885–1962 Danish physicist: attributed; in
- There was a young lady named Bright,
Whose speed was far faster than light;
She set out one day
In a relative way
And returned on the previous night.
Punch 19 December 1923 1874–1944 British botanist and mycologist: ‘Relativity’ in
- If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell's equations—then so much the worse for Maxwell's equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation—well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.
The Nature of the Physical World (1928) ch. 14 1882–1944 British astrophysicist:
- I am standing on the threshold about to enter a room. It is a complicated business. In the first place I must shove against an atmosphere pressing with a force of fourteen pounds on every square inch of my body. I must make sure of landing on a plank travelling at twenty miles a second round the sun— a fraction of a second too early or too late, the plank would be miles away. I must do this whilst hanging from a round planet, head outward into space, and with a wind of aether blowing at no one knows how many miles a second through every interstice of my body.
The Nature of the Physical World (1928) ch. 15 1882–1944 British astrophysicist:
- E = mc2.
the usual form of Einstein's original statement: ‘If a body releases the energy L in the form of radiation, its mass is decreased by L/V2’
Annalen der Physik 18 (1905) 1879–1955 German-born theoretical physicist: in
- If I could remember the names of all these particles I'd be a botanist.
More Random Walks in Science (1973) 1901–54 Italian-born American atomic physicist: R. L. Weber
- Heat won't pass from a cooler to a hotter,
You can try it if you like but you'd far better notter.
1922–75 and 1923–94: ‘The First and Second Law’ (1956 song)
- If we assume that the last breath of, say, Julius Caesar has by now become thoroughly scattered through the atmosphere, then the chances are that each of us inhales one molecule of it with every breath we take.
An Introduction to the Kinetic Theory of Gases (1940) 1877–1946 English astronomer, physicist, and mathematician:
- Nothing puzzles me more than time and space; and yet nothing troubles me less, as I never think about them.
Letters of Charles and Mary Lamb (1978) vol. 3 1775–1834 English writer: letter to Thomas Manning, 2 January 1810, in E. W. Marrs (ed.)
- Every body continues in its state of rest, or of uniform motion in a right line, unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed upon it.
Principia Mathematica (1687) Laws of Motion 1 (tr. Andrew Motte, 1729) 1642–1727 English mathematician and physicist:
- The alteration of motion is ever proportional to the motive force impressed; and is made in the direction of the right line in which that force is impressed.
Principia Mathematica (1687) Laws of Motion 2 (tr. Andrew Motte, 1729) 1642–1727 English mathematician and physicist:
- To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction: or, the mutual actions of two bodies upon each other are always equal, and directed to contrary parts.
Principia Mathematica (1687) Laws of Motion 3 (tr. Andrew Motte, 1729) 1642–1727 English mathematician and physicist:
- I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita…‘I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.’
on the explosion of the first atomic bomb near Alamogordo, New Mexico, 16 July 1945
The Decision to Drop the Bomb (1965); see Bhagavadgita 1904–67 American physicist: Len Giovannitti and Fred Freed
- In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity, no humour, no overstatement can quite extinguish, the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose. 1904–67 American physicist: lecture at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 25 November 1947
- It was quite the most incredible event that has ever happened to me in my life. It was almost as incredible as if you fired a 15-inch shell at a piece of tissue paper and it came back and hit you.
on the back-scattering effect of metal foil on alpha-particles
Rutherford and the Nature of the Atom (1964) 1871–1937 New Zealand physicist: E. N. da C. Andrade
- Neutrinos, they are very small
They have no charge and have no mass
And do not interact at all.
1932–2009 American novelist and short-story writer: ‘Cosmic Gall ’ (1964)
- It would be a poor thing to be an atom in a world without physicists. And physicists are made of atoms. A physicist is an atom's way of knowing about atoms.
The Fitness of the Environment (1958) 1904–97 American biochemist: foreword to L. J. Henderson