Norman Robert Campbell

From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Norman Robert Campbell (London, March 7, 1880 - May 18, 1949) was an English physicist and philosopher of science, known for his early work What Is Science? (1920) and his contributions to the theory and practice of physical measurements explained in An Account of the Principles of Measurement and Calculation (1928).


  • Science is the noblest of the arts and men of science the most artistic of all artists.
    • Norman Robert Campbell. Physics, the elements, 1920. p. 227-8
  • Space and time are the conceptions of theory, not of laws. They are neither necessary nor useful in the statement of the results of any experiment.
    • Norman Robert Campbell. "Theory and Experiment in Relativity". Nature 106, 804–806 (1921). p. 804

What Is Science?, 1921


Norman Robert Campbell, What Is Science?, 1921/1957.

  • There are two forms or aspects of science. First, science is a body of useful and practical knowledge and a method of obtaining it. It is science of this form which played so large a part in the destruction of war and, it is claimed, should play an equally large part in the beneficent restoration of peace. It can work for good or for evil. If practical science made possible gas warfare, it was also the means of countering its horrors. If it was largely responsible for the evils of the industrial revolution, it has already cured many of them by decreasing the expenditure of labour and time that are necessary for the satisfaction of our material needs. In its second form or aspect, science has nothing to do with practical life and cannot affects it, except in the most indirect manner, either for good or for ill. Science of this form is a pure intellectual study. It is akin to painting, sculpture, or literature rather than to the technical arts. Its aim is to satisfy the needs of the mind and not those of the body ; it appeals to nothing but the disinterested curiosity of mankind.
    • p. 1; First paragraph in Chapter 1. The two aspects of science
  • It is notorious that men of science differ among themselves, that they accuse each other of being wrong, and that their discussions are quite as acrimonious as those of their philosophical or linguistic colleagues.
    • p. 30 ; This statement was brought as objection that will probably occur to the scientist whether there can be "truly and perfectly universal agreement" in science.
  • Science would not be what it is if there had not been a Galileo, a Newton or a Lavoisier, any more than music would be what it is if Bach, Beethoven and Wagner had never lived. The world as we know it is the product of its geniuses—and there may be evil as well as beneficent genius—and to deny that fact, is to stultify all history, whether it be that of the intellectual or the economic world.
  • Science, like art, should not be something extraneous, added as a decoration to other activities of existence; it should be part of them, inspiring our most trivial actions as well as our noblest thoughts.
    • p. 183
Wikipedia has an article about:
Wikisource has original works by or about: