Science in the broadest sense refers to any system of objective knowledge. In a more restricted sense, science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge based on the scientific method, as well as to the organized body of knowledge humans have gained by such research.
- listed alphabetically by author
- The extensive literature addressed to the definition or characterization of science is filled with inconsistent points of view and demonstrates that an adequate definition is not easy to attain. Part of the difficulty arises from the fact that the meaning of science is not fixed, but is dynamic. As science has evolved, so has its meaning. It takes on a new meaning and significance with successive ages.
- Russell L. Ackoff (1962) Scientific method: optimizing applied research decisions, p.1
- Don't you believe in flying saucers, they ask me? Don't you believe in telepathy? — in ancient astronauts? — in the Bermuda triangle? — in life after death?
No, I reply. No, no, no, no, and again no.
One person recently, goaded into desperation by the litany of unrelieved negation, burst out "Don't you believe in anything?"
"Yes", I said. "I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I'll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be."
- Isaac Asimov (1997) The Roving Mind. Prometheus Books. p.349
- We often frame our understanding of what the space telescope will do in terms of what we expect to find, and actually it would be terribly anticlimactic if in fact we find what we expect to find. ... The most important discoveries will provide answers to questions that we do not yet know how to ask and will concern objects we have not yet imagined.
- 'Twas thus by the glare of false science betray'd,
That leads to bewilder, and dazzles to blind.
- James Beattie, The Hermit. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92.
- People keep saying "science doesn't know everything!" Well, science knows' it doesn't know everything; otherwise it would stop.
- Dara Ó Briain, Dara Ó Briain: Live at the Theatre Royal (2006)
- Science, like art, is not a copy of nature but a re-creation of her.
- Jacob Bronowski, Science and Human Values (1956), Part 1, §9
- The symbol and the metaphor are as necessary to science as to poetry.
- Jacob Bronowski, Science and Human Values (1956), Part 2, §6
- O star-eyed Science, hast thou wander'd there,
To waft us home the message of despair?
- Thomas Campbell, Pleasures of Hope, Part II, line 325. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92.
- Through all God's works there runs a beautiful harmony. The remotest truth in His universe is linked to that which lies nearest the throne.
- Edwin Hubbell Chapin, Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) p. 530.
- Respectable Professors of the Dismal Science.
- Thomas Carlyle, Latter Day Pamphlets, No. 1. (1850). Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92.
- What we might call, by way of Eminence, the Dismal Science.
- Thomas Carlyle, The Nigger Question. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92.
- But when science, passing beyond its own limits, assumes to take the place of theology, and sets up its own conception of the order of nature as a sufficient account of its cause, it is invading a province of thought to which it has no claim, and not unreasonably provokes the hostility of its best friends.
- M. B. Carpenter Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) p. 530.
- I'm not anti-science, I'm anti the way science is sometimes used.
- Charles, Prince of Wales, BBC TV programme, 'Charles at 60: The Passionate Prince,' 12th November 2008.
- Philosophia vero omnium mater artium.
- Philosophy is true mother of the arts. (Science).
- Cicero, Tusculum Disp, Book I. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92.
- Politics and Religion are obsolete. The time has come for Science and Spirituality.
- The French Revolution qualitatively transformed all aspects of human culture, including science, for better or worse. The institutional ideological changes wrought in French science by the Revolution and its aftermath shaped the subsequent course of modern science everywhere. The essential underlying factor, as the Hessen thesis maintains, was the victory of capitalism, which the Revolution consolidated. The new social order spread to Europe and the rest of the world, everywhere subordinating the further development of science to capitalist interests.
- Clifford D. Conner, A People's History of Science (2005)
- To spread healthy ideas among even the lowest classes of people, to remove men from the influence of prejudice and passion, to make reason the arbiter and supreme guide of public opinion; that is the essential goal of the sciences; that is how science will contribute to the advancement of civilization, and that is what deserves protection of governments who want to insure the stability of their power.
- Georges Cuvier, Rapport historique sur les progrès des sciences naturelles (1810) as quoted in Clifford D. Conner, A People's History of Science (2005)
- It is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.
- Fortunately science, like that nature to which it belongs, is neither limited by time nor by space. It belongs to the world, and is of no country and of no age. The more we know, the more we feel our ignorance; the more we feel how much remains unknown; and in philosophy, the sentiment of the Macedonian hero can never apply, — there are always new worlds to conquer.
- Sir Humphry Davy, discourse delivered at the Royal Society (30 November 1825).
- There are very few persons who pursue science with true dignity.
- Sir Humphry Davy, Consolations in Travel, Dialogue V. The Chemical Philosopher. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92.
- There's real poetry in the real world. Science is the poetry of reality.
- All of science is nothing more than the refinement of everyday thinking.
- Albert Einstein, in "Physics and Reality" (1936); later published in Out of My Later Years (1950).
- All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. It is no mere chance that our older universities developed from clerical schools. Both churches and universities — insofar as they live up to their true function — serve the ennoblement of the individual. They seek to fulfill this great task by spreading moral and cultural understanding, renouncing the use of brute force.
- Albert Einstein, in "Moral Decay" (1937); later published in Out of My Later Years (1950).
- From society's standpoint, modern science and technology appears Janus-faced : It has given us wealth in one sense, and poverty in another; it has harnessed nature to man's basic needs in ways and to extents undreamed - of only a few decades ago, but it has fostered a continuingly lowered "quality of life".
- Richard F. Ericson (1969) Organizational cybernetics and human values. p. 7
- The impression that science is over has occurred many times in various branches of human knowledge, often because of an explosion of discoveries made by a genius or a small group of men in such a short time that average minds could hardly follow and had the unconscious desire to take breath, to get used to the unexpected things that came to be revealed. Dazzled by these new truths, they could not see beyond. Sometimes an entire century did not suffice to produce this accommodation.
- Charles Fabry, La vie et l'oeuvre scientifique de Augustin Fresnel (1927), p. 13.
- Our freedom to doubt was born out of a struggle against authority in the early days of science. It was a very deep and strong struggle: permit us to question — to doubt — to not be sure. I think that it is important that we do not forget this struggle and thus perhaps lose what we have gained.
- Richard Feynman, in "The Value of Science," address to the National Academy of Sciences (Autumn 1955).
- Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself. The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.
- Richard Feynman, in "What is and What Should be the Role of Scientific Culture in Modern Society", lecture at the Galileo Symposium in Italy, (1964).
- And most people say of astrology, "Oh, it's harmless fun, isn't it?" And I should say probably for about 80% of the cases it probably is harmless fun, but there's a strong way in which it isn't harmless: one, because it's so anti-science; you know, you'll hear things like "Science doesn't know everything." Well, of course science doesn't know everything. But because science doesn't know everything that doesn't mean science knows nothing. Science knows enough for us to be watched by a few million people now on television, for these lights to be working, for quite extraordinary miracles to have taken place in terms of the harnessing of the physical world and our dim approaches towards understanding it.
- Stephen Fry, Room 101, Season 6 Episode 10
- Science is a way of talking about the universe in words that bind it to a common reality. Magic is a method of talking to the universe in words that it cannot ignore. The two are rarely compatible.
- Wissenschaft und Kunst gehören der Welt an, und vor ihnen verschwinden die Schranken der Nationalität.
- Science and art belong to the whole world, and before them vanish the barriers of nationality.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, in a conversation with a German historian. (1813). Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92.
- Results rarely specify their causes unambiguously. If we have no direct evidence of fossils or human chronicles, if we are forced to infer a process only from its modern results, then we are usually stymied or reduced to speculation about probabilities. For many roads lead to almost any Rome.
- Stephen Jay Gould, The Panda's Thumb (1980), "Senseless Signs of History".
- While bright-eyed Science watches round.
- Thomas Gray, Ode for Music, Chorus, line 11. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92.
- Science can only be comprehended epistemologically, which means as one category of possible knowledge, as long as knowledge is not equated either effusively with the absolute knowledge of a great philosophy or blindly with scientistic self-understanding of the actual business of research.
- Jürgen Habermas (1971) Knowledge and human Interests, p.4
- Science could predict that the universe must have had a beginning.
- Stephen Hawking, prominent physicist concluded in his book Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays, published in 1993.
- Science embraces facts and debates opinion; religion embraces opinion and debates the facts.
- Tom Heehler, The Well-Spoken Thesaurus (2011).
- Science ... may be degraded from its native dignity ... by placing it in the light of a mere appendage to and caterer for our pampered appetites. The question "cui bono" to what practical end and advantage do your researches tend? is one which the speculative philosopher who loves knowledge for its own sake, and enjoys, as a rational being should enjoy, the mere contemplation of harmonious and mutually dependent truths, can seldom hear without a sense of humiliation. He feels that there is a lofty and disinterested pleasure in his speculations which ought to exempt them from such questioning; communicating as they do to his own mind the purest happiness (after the exercise of the benevolent and moral feelings) of which human nature is susceptible, and tending to the injury of no one, he might surely allege this as a sufficient and direct reply to those who, having themselves little capacity, and less relish for intellectual pursuits, are constantly repeating upon him this enquiry.
- John Frederick William Herschel, A Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy (1831), Chapter 1
- Science is the knowledge of many, orderly and methodically digested and arranged, so as to become attainable by one.
- John Frederick William Herschel, A Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy (1831), Chapter 2
- Science is the topography of ignorance.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Medical Essays, 211. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92.
- Science is a good piece of furniture for a man to have in an upper chamber, provided he has common sense on the ground floor.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) p. 531.
- The great tragedy of Science — the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.
- Thomas Henry Huxley, Presidential Address at the British Association (1870); "Biogenesis and Abiogenesis", Collected Essays, Volume 8, p. 229
- Paraphrased variant: That's what happens when a beautiful hypotheses meets a brutal gang of facts.
- Science ... commits suicide when it adopts a creed.
- Thomas Henry Huxley, in "The Darwin Memorial" (1885).
- Science is for the laboratory. Other men, who stand alone and face the elemental forces of nature, know that science as a shining, world-conquering hero, is a myth. Science lives in concrete structures full of bright factory toys, insulated from the earth's great forces. The priesthood of this new cult are seldom called upon to stand and face the onslaught.
- Hammond Innes, Atlantic Fury (1962), Chapter II.2.
- The admired wisdom turns out to be that the subject’s task is to strip away more and more of his subjectivity and become more and more objective. … It thereby quite correctly understands the accidental, the angular, the selfish, the eccentric, etc., of which every human being can have plenty. Christianity does not deny, either, that such things are to be discarded. … But the difference is simply that science and scholarship want to teach that becoming objective is the way, whereas Christianity teaches that the way is to become subjective, that is, truly to become a subject.
- Søren Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript, p. 131
- For science is * * * like virtue, its own exceeding great reward.
- Charles Kingsley, Health and Education, Science. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92.
- Some people think that science is just all this technology around, but NO it's something much deeper than that. Science, scientific thinking, scientific method is for me the only philosophical construct that the human race has developed to determine what is reliably true.
- In the penultimate decade of the twentieth century science is sufficiently advanced to resolve the puzzles that stymied scientists in the last century and demonstrate, without metaphysical speculation, the consistency of evolution in all realms of experience. It is now possible to advance a general evolution theory based on unitary and mutually consistent concepts derived from the empirical sciences.
- Ervin László (1996) Evolution: the general theory p. 21
- Obviously something is wrong with the entire argument of "obviousness".
- Paul Lazarsfeld, about the interpretation of results in social science as obvious, in "The American Soldier — An Expository Review", Public Opinion Quarterly, Volume 13, no. 3, (1949) pp. 377-404, 380.
- In Science the paramount appeal is to the Intellect — its purpose being instruction; in Art, the paramount appeal is to the Emotions — its purpose being pleasure. A work of Art must of course indirectly appeal to the Intellect, and a work of Science will also indirectly appeal to the Feelings; nevertheless a poem on the stars and a treatise on astronomy have distinct aims and distinct methods. But having recognised the broadly-marked differences, we are called upon to ascertain the underlying resemblances. Logic and Imagination belong equally to both. It is only because men have been attracted by the differences that they have overlooked the not less important affinities.
- One can ask two different kinds of questions with regard to the topics of study in psychology as well as in other sciences. One can ask for the phenomenal characteristics of psychological units or events, for example, how many kinds of feelings can be qualitatively differentiated from one another or which characteristics describe an experience of a voluntary act. Aside from this are the questions asking for the why, for the cause and the effect, for the conditional-genetic interrelations. For example, one can ask: Under which conditions has been a decision made and which are the specific psychological effects which follow this decision? The depiction of phenomenal characteristics is usually characterized as “description”, the depiction of causal relationships as “explanation.”
- Kurt Lewin (1927). "Gesetz und experiment in der Psychologie" [Law and experiment in psychology]. in: Symposion, Vol 1, p. 375-421. Transl. Kurt Kreppner.
- With respect to science, the assumption behind consensus is that science is a source of authority and that authority increases with the number of scientists. Of course, science is not primarily a source of authority. Rather, it is a particularly effective approach to inquiry and analysis. Skepticism is essential to science; consensus is foreign.
- Science, at bottom, is really anti-intellectual. It always distrusts pure reason, and demands the production of objective fact.
- H.L. Mencken, Minority Report : H.L. Mencken's Notebooks 412 (1956).
- We'll try to imitate how Galileo and Newton learned so much by studying the simplest kinds of pendulums and weights, mirrors and prisms. ...It is the same reason why so many biologists today devote more attention to tiny germs and viruses than to magnificent lions and tigers. ...In science, one can learn the most by studying what seems the least.
- Marvin Minsky, The Society of Mind (1988)
- This political movement has patently demonstrated that it will not defend the integrity of science in any case in which science runs afoul of its core political constituencies. In so doing, it has ceded any right to govern a technologically advanced and sophisticated nation.
- Our abiding belief is that just as the workmen in the tunnel of St. Gothard, working from either end, met at last to shake hands in the very central root of the mountain, so students of nature and students of Christianity will yet join hands in the unity of reason and faith, in the heart of their deepest mysteries.
- Lemuel Moss, Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) p. 530
- Science is the first of sins, the germ of all sins, the original sin. This is all there is of morality—“Thou shalt not know”—the rest follows from that.
- We're science: we're all about coulda, not shoulda!
- Patton Oswalt (track "The Miracle of Childbirth", on Werewolves and Lollipops).
- The science of fools with long memories.
- James Planché, Preliminary Observations, Pursuivant of Arms, Speaking of Heraldry. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92.
- 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. 'Wissenschaftliche Selbstbiographie. Mit einem Bildnis und der von Max von Laue gehaltenen Traueransprache. 35 pp. (Leipzig, 1948). Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers, trans. F. Gaynor (New York, 1949), pp.33-34 (as cited in T.S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions).
- Science is built up with facts, as a house is with stones. But a collection of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house.
- To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient truths; both dispense with the necessity of reflection.
- Henri Poincaré in: Harold Chapman Brown (1914) "The Work of Henri Poincare" in: The Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods. Vol 11. p.9. p. 225-236
- How index-learning turns no student pale,
Yet holds the eel of science by the tail.
- One science only will one genius fit,
So vast is art, so narrow human wit.
- Science is, on the whole, an informal activity, a life of shirt sleeves and coffee served in beakers.
- "Today we preach that science is not science unless it is quantitative... [however] many - perhaps most - of the great issues of science are qualitative, not quantitative, even in physics and chemistry. Equations and measurements are useful when and only when they are related to proof; but proof or disproof comes first and is in fact strongest when it is absolutely convincing without any quantitative measurement.
Or to say it another way, you can catch phenomena in a logical box or in a mathematical box. The logical box is coarse but strong. The mathematical box is fine-grained but flimsy. The mathematical box is a beautiful way of wrapping up a problem, but it will not hold the phenomena unless they have been caught in a logical box to begin with."
- John R. Platt (1964) "Science, Strong Inference -- Proper Scientific Method (The New Baconians). In: Science Magazine 16 October 1964, Volume 146, Number 3642.
- [... modern science is recently been epitomized as follows:]
- Science is constantly, systematically and inexorably revisionary. It is a self-correcting process and one that is self-destroying of its own errors...
- A related trait of science is its destruction of dols, destruction of the gods men live by... Science has no absolute right or absolute justice... To live comfortably with science it is necessary to live with a dynamically changing system of concepts... it has a way of weakening old and respected bonds...
- Not only are the tenets of science constantly subject to challenge and revision, but its prophets are under challenge too...
- Further, the findings of science have an embarrassing way of turning out to be relevant to the customs and to the civil laws of men-- requiring these customs and laws also to be revised...
- Certainly we have seen spectacular changes in the concept of private property and of national borders as we have moved into the space age...
- Moreover, the pace of technological advance gravely threatens the bountiful and restorative power of nature to resist modification...
- Another trait of science that leads to much hostility or misunderstanding by the non-scientist is the fact that science is practiced by a small elite ... (which) has cultural patterns discernibly different from those of the rest of society...
- The trait that to me seems the most socially important about science, however, is that it is a major source of man's discontent with the status quo..
- The work of science is to substitute facts for appearances, and demonstrations for impressions.
- It is not in the nature of things for any one man to make a sudden violent discovery; science goes step by step, and every man depends on the work of his predecessors. When you hear of a sudden unexpected discovery—a bolt from the blue, as it were—you can always be sure that it has grown up by the influence of one man on another, and it is this mutual influence which makes the enormous possibility of scientific advance. Scientists are not dependent on the ideas of a single man, but on the combined wisdom of thousands of men, all thinking of the same problem, and each doing his little bit to add to the great structure of knowledge which is gradually being erected.
- All the sciences in the world never smoothed down a dying pillow. No earthly philosophy ever supplied hope in death.
- J. C. Ryle, Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) p. 530.
- Science is much more than a body of knowledge. It is a way of thinking. This is central to its success. Science invites us to let the facts in, even when they don’t conform to our preconceptions. It counsels us to carry alternative hypotheses in our heads and see which ones best match the facts. It urges on us a fine balance between no-holds-barred openness to new ideas, however heretical, and the most rigorous skeptical scrutiny of everything — new ideas and established wisdom. We need wide appreciation of this kind of thinking. It works. It’s an essential tool for a democracy in an age of change. Our task is not just to train more scientists but also to deepen public understanding of science.
- To the natural philosopher, to whom the whole extent of nature belongs, all the individual branches of science constitute the links of an endless chain, from which not one can be detached without destroying the harmony of the whole.
- Friedrich Schoedler (1813 - 1884), Treasury of Science. Astronomy. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92.
- It may be true, that as Francis Thompson noted, "Thou canst not stir a flower without troubling a star", but in computing the motion of stars and planets, the effects of flowers do not loom large. It is the disregarding of the effect of flowers on stars that allows progress in astronomy. Appropriate abstraction is critical to progress in science.
- Herman Shugart, in Plant Functional Types (1997 edition) by Smith, Shugart and Woodward, Cambridge University Press, p. 20.
- A mere index hunter, who held the eel of science by the tail.
- Tobias Smollett, Peregrine Pickle, Chapter XLIII. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92.
- Science is organised knowledge.
- Herbert Spencer, Education, Chapter II. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92.
- Scientific skepticism is considered good. […] Under this principle, one must question, doubt, or suspend judgment until sufficient information is available. Skeptics demand that evidence and proof be offered before conclusions can be drawn. […] One must thoughtfully gather evidence and be persuaded by the evidence rather than by prejudice, bias, or uncritical thinking.
- Sue Stanley (1999) "Science, Ethnicity, and Bias: Where Have We Gone Wrong?" in American Psychologist Vol 54, nr 12.
- Science when well digested is nothing but good sense and reason.
- Stanisław Leszczyński (King of Poland), Maxims, No. 43. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92.
- All the great revolutions in science start with an unexpected discrepancy that wouldn’t go away.
- Matthew Strassler. 2011. "Particles faster than light: Revolution or mistake?". Washington Post. Page 2 of online content (closing line of article).
- At its core, therefore, science is a form of arrogance control.
- Science falsely so called.
- I Timothy, VI. 20. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92.
- What are the sciences but maps of universal laws, and universal laws but the channels of universal power; and universal power but the outgoings of a universal mind?
- Edward Thompson, Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) p. 531.
- Holding then to science with one hand — the left hand — we give the right hand to religion, and cry: "Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things, more wondrous than the shining worlds can tell." Obedient to the promise, religion does waken faculties within us, does teach our eyes to the beholding of more wonderful things. Those great worlds blazing like suns die like feeble stars in the glory of the morning, in the presence of this new light. The soul knows that an infinite sea of love is all about it, throbbing through it, everlasting arms of affection lift it, and it bathes itself in the clear consciousness of a Father's love.
- Bishop H. W. Warren, Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) p. 531.
- But beyond the bright searchlights of science,
Out of sight of the windows of sense,
Old riddles still bid us defiance,
Old questions of Why and of Whence.
- W. C. D. Whetham, Recent Development of Physical Science, p. 10. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92.