- Basic research is like shooting an arrow into the air and, where it lands, painting a target.
A Dictionary of Scientific Quotations (1991) 1892–1949 American organic chemist: attributed, A. Mackay (ed.)
- Basic research is what I am doing when I don't know what I am doing.
A Random Walk in Science (1973) 1912–77 German-born American rocket engineer: R. L. Weber
- A man will turn over half a library to make one book.
Life of Samuel Johnson (1791) 6 April 1775 1709–84 English poet, critic, and lexicographer: James Boswell
- If politics is the art of the possible, research is surely the art of the soluble. Both are immensely practical-minded affairs.
New Statesman 19 June 1964; see Bismarck 1915–87 English immunologist and writer: in
- In research the horizon recedes as we advance, and is no nearer at sixty than it was at twenty. As the power of endurance weakens with age, the urgency of the pursuit grows more intense…And research is always incomplete.
Isaac Casaubon (1875) 1813–84 English educationist:
- He had been eight years upon a project for extracting sun-beams out of cucumbers, which were to be put into vials hermetically sealed, and let out to warm the air in raw inclement summers.
Gulliver's Travels (1726) ‘A Voyage to Laputa, etc.’ ch. 5 1667–1745 Irish poet and satirist:
- The outcome of any serious research can only be to make two questions grow where one question grew before.
University of California Chronicle (1908) 1857–1929 American economist and social scientist:
- No more impressive warning can be given to those who would confine knowledge and research to what is apparently useful, than the reflection that conic sections were studied for eighteen hundred years merely as an abstract science, without regard to any utility other than to satisfy the craving for knowledge on the part of mathematicians, and that then at the end of this long period of abstract study, they were found to be the necessary key with which to attain the knowledge of the most important laws of nature.
Introduction to Mathematics (1911) 1861–1947 English philosopher and mathematician: