- Today the network of relationships linking the human race to itself and to the rest of the biosphere is so complex that all aspects affect all others to an extraordinary degree. Someone should be studying the whole system, however crudely that has to be done, because no gluing together of partial studies of a complex nonlinear system can give a good idea of the behaviour of the whole.
- Murray Gell-Mann in ISSS The Primer Project International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS) seminar (12 October - 10 November 1997)
- While many questions about quantum mechanics are still not fully resolved, there is no point in introducing needless mystification where in fact no problem exists. Yet a great deal of recent writing about quantum mechanics has done just that.
- The Quark and the Jaguar : Adventures in the Simple and the Complex (2002), Ch. 12 : Quantum Mechanics and Flapdoodle, p. 167
- I thought of killing myself but soon decided that I could always try MIT and then kill myself later if it was that bad but that I couldn't commit suicide and then try MIT afterwards. The two operations, suicide and going to MIT, don't commute...
- Just because things get a little dingy at the subatomic level doesn't mean all bets are off.
- Three principles — the conformability of nature to herself, the applicability of the criterion of simplicity, and the "unreasonable effectiveness" of certain parts of mathematics in describing physical reality — are thus consequences of the underlying law of the elementary particles and their interactions. Those three principles need not be assumed as separate metaphysical postulates. Instead, they are emergent properties of the fundamental laws of physics.
- You don't need something more to get something more. That's what emergence means. Life can emerge from physics and chemistry plus a lot of accidents. The human mind can arise from neurobiology and a lot of accidents, the way the chemical bond arises from physics and certain accidents. Doesn't diminish the importance of these subjects to know they follow from more fundamental things plus accidents.
- If I have seen further than others, it is because I am surrounded by dwarfs.
- As quoted in "Wilson vs Watson: The blessing of great enemies" by Amanda Gefter in New Scientist (10 September 2009); this is a play upon the famous statement by Isaac Newton: "If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants."
- Biography and Bibliographic Resources, from the Department of Energy, Office of Scientific & Technical Information
- Gell-Mann's Home Page at SFI
- TED Talks: Murray Gell-Mann on beauty and truth in physics at TED (2007)
- TED Talks: Murray Gell-Mann on the ancestor of language at TED (2007)
- Murray Gell-Mann Video Interview with the Academy of Achievement (1990)
- Murray Gell-Mann talks quarks (Video)
- Math Genealogy profile