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Measurement (from Old French, mesurement) is the assignment of numbers to objects or events. It is a cornerstone of most natural sciences, technology, economics, and quantitative research in other social sciences.
- Quotes are arranged alphabetically by author
A - F
- 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.
- The concept of 'measurement' becomes so fuzzy on reflection that it is quite surprising to have it appearing in physical theory at the most fundamental level... does not any analysis of measurement require concepts more fundamental than measurement? And should not the fundamental theory be about these more fundamental concepts?
- A final moral concerns terminology. Why did such serious people take so seriously axioms which now seem so arbitrary? I suspect that they were misled by the pernicious misuse of the word ‘measurement’ in contemporary theory. This word very strongly suggests the ascertaining of some preexisting property of some thing, any instrument involved playing a purely passive role. Quantum experiments are just not like that, as we learned especially from Bohr. The results have to be regarded as the joint product of ‘system’ and ‘apparatus,’ the complete experimental set-up.
- John Stewart Bell "On the impossible pilot wave" (1982), included in Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics (1987), p. 166.
- The theory of communication is partly concerned with the measurement of information content of signals, as their essential property in the establishment of communication links. But the information content of signals is not to be regarded as a commodity; it is more a property or potential of the signals, and as a concept it is closely related to the idea of selection, or discrimination. This mathematical theory first arose in telegraphy and telephony, being developed for the purpose of measuring the information content of telecommunication signals. It concerned only the signals themselves as transmitted along wires, or broadcast through the aether, and is quite abstracted from all questions of "meaning." Nor does it concern the importance, the value, or truth to any particular person. As a theory, it lies at the syntactic level of sign theory and is abstracted from the semantic and pragmatic levels. We shall argue … that, though the theory does not directly involve biological elements, it is nevertheless quite basic to the study of human communication — basic but insufficient.
- Colin Cherry (1957)On Human Communication. p. 10.
- It is wrong to suppose that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it – a costly myth.
- W. Edwards Deming (1993) in The new economics for industry, government, education p. 35.
- You can't control what you can't measure
- Tom DeMarco in Controlling Software Projects, Management Measurement & Estimation, Page 3.
- Since geometry is the right foundation of all painting, I have decided to teach its rudiments and principles to all youngsters eager for art.
- Albrecht Dürer The Art of Measurement (1525).
- There are two possible outcomes: if the result confirms the hypothesis, then you've made a measurement. If the result is contrary to the hypothesis, then you've made a discovery.
- Enrico Fermi As quoted in Nuclear Principles in Engineering (2005) by Tatjana Jevremovic, p. 397.
- It is impossible to escape the impression that people commonly use false standards of measurement — that they seek power, success and wealth for themselves and admire them in others, and that they underestimate what is of true value in life.
G - L
- Advancement of the human factor in industry... varies so much that unless we use measurement and abide by the results, there is no possibility of repeating the process accurately and efficiently at will, or of predicting and controlling the future conditions that assure that advancement.
- Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Sr. Measurement of the human factor in industry (1917) p. 3.
- Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.
- H. James Harrington, in CIO (Sep 1999), p. 19.
- The more precise the measurement of position, the more imprecise the measurement of momentum, and vice versa.
- Observe due measure, for right timing is in all things the most important factor.
- Hesiod, Works and Days (c. 700 BC) line 694.
- If a measurement matters at all, it is because it must have some conceivable effect on decisions and behaviour. If we can't identify a decision that could be affected by a proposed measurement and how it could change those decisions, then the measurement simply has no value.
- Most people measure their happiness in terms of physical pleasure and material possession. Could they win some visible goal which they have set on the horizon, how happy they could be! Lacking this gift or that circumstance, they would be miserable. If happiness is to be so measured, I who cannot hear or see have every reason to sit in a corner with folded hands and weep. If I am happy in spite of my deprivations, if my happiness is so deep that it is a faith, so thoughtful that it becomes a philosophy of life, — if, in short, I am an optimist, my testimony to the creed of optimism is worth hearing.
- Helen Keller in Optimism (1903).
- I used to measure the heavens, now I measure the shadows of Earth.
Although my mind was heaven-bound, the shadow of my body lies here.
- Johannes Kepler Epitaph he composed for himself a few months before he died, as quoted in Calculusː Multivariable (2006) by Steven G. Krantz and Brian E. Blank. p. 126.
- It is also very difficult to understand the effectiveness of our actions without measurements.
- Steve Killelea (2007) Peace and Sustainability: Cornerstones to survival in the 21st century.
M - R
- Computer science is an empirical discipline. [...] Each new machine that is built is an experiment. Actually constructing the machine poses a question to nature; and we listen for the answer by observing the machine in operation and analyzing it by all analytical and measurement means available. Each new program that is built is an experiment. It poses a question to nature, and its behavior offers clues to an answer.
- Allen Newell (1975) Computer Science as Empirical Inquiry: Symbols and Search. p. 114.
- To understand God's thoughts we must study statistics, for these are the measure of his purpose.
- The ultimate measurement is effectiveness, not efficiency.
- Jack J. J. Phillips (2012) Accountability in Human Resource Management. p. 175.
S - Z
- Science and engineering are based on measurements and comparisons. Thus, we need rules about how things are measured and compared, and we need experiments to establish the units for those measurements and comparisons. One purpose of physics (and engineering) is to design and conduct those experiments.
- Jearl Walker, David Halliday, and Robert Resnick, Fundamentals of Physics (10th ed., 2014), Ch. 1. Measurement
- As soon as we venture on the paths of the physicist, we learn to weigh and measure, to deal with time and space and mass and their related concepts, and to find more and more our knowledge expressed and our needs satisfied through the concept of number, as in the dreams of Plato and Pythagoras.