Quotations about   discovery

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Youth finds no value in the views it disagrees with, but maturity includes discovering that even an opinion contrary to ours may contain a vein of truth we could profitably assimilate to our own views.

Sydney J. Harris (1917-1986) Anglo-American columnist, journalist, author
Pieces of Eight (1982)
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Added on 27-May-19 | Last updated 27-May-19
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The only real argument for marriage is that it remains the best method for getting acquainted.

Heywood Broun (1888-1939) American journalist, author
It Seems To Me, 1925–35 (1935)
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Added on 13-Dec-17 | Last updated 13-Dec-17
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There is no harm in being sometimes wrong — especially if one is promptly found out.

John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) English economist
“Alfred Marshall,” The Economic Journal (Sep 1924)
Added on 1-Mar-17 | Last updated 1-Mar-17
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Again, we should notice the force, effect, and consequences of inventions, which are nowhere more conspicuous than in those three which were unknown to the ancients; namely, printing, gunpowder, and the compass. For these three have changed the appearance and state of the whole world; first in literature, then in warfare, and lastly in navigation: and innumerable changes have been thence derived, so that no empire, sect, or star, appears to have exercised a greater power and influence on human affairs than these mechanical discoveries.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
Novum Organum, Book 2, Aphorism 129 (1620)
Added on 18-Aug-16 | Last updated 18-Aug-16
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The Earth does not want new continents, but new men.

[Ce ne sont pas de nouveaux continents qu’il faut à la terre, mais de nouveaux hommes!]

Jules Verne (1828-1905) French novelist, poet, playwright
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Part 1, ch. 18 “Vanikoro” (1870) [tr. Smith & Co. (1873)]
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Ch. 19 in the French text.

Alt. trans.: "The planet doesn't need new continents, it needs new men." [Miller (1966)]
Added on 8-Apr-16 | Last updated 8-Apr-16
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Keep on going and the chances are you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I have never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down.

Charles F. Kettering (1876-1958) American inventor, engineer, researcher, businessman
(Attributed)
Added on 4-Sep-15 | Last updated 4-Sep-15
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No one would have crossed the ocean if he could have gotten off the ship in the storm.

Charles F. Kettering (1876-1958) American inventor, engineer, researcher, businessman
In “Looking ahead with Boss Ket,” Popular Mechanics (Feb 1935)
Added on 26-Jun-15 | Last updated 24-Jun-15
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All of life is a foreign country.

Jack Kerouac (1922–1969) Canadian-American novelist and poet
Letter to John Clellon Holmes (24 Jun 1949)
Added on 3-Jun-15 | Last updated 3-Jun-15
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To ask the right question is already half the solution of a problem.

Carl Jung (1875-1961) Swiss psychologist
Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious (1934) [tr. Hull (1959)]
Added on 23-Mar-15 | Last updated 23-Mar-15
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Now because 18 months ago the first dawn, three months ago broad daylight, but a very few days ago the full sun of the most highly remarkable spectacle has risen — nothing holds me back. I can give myself up to the sacred frenzy, I can have the insolence to make a full confession to mortal men that I have stolen the golden vessel of the Egyptians to make from them a tabernacle for my God far from the confines of the land of Egypt. If you forgive me I shall rejoice; if you are angry, I shall bear it; I am indeed casting the die and writing the book, either for my contemporaries or for posterity to read, it matters not which: let the book await its reader for a hundred years; God himself has waited six thousand years for his work to be seen.

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) German astronomer
The Harmonies of the World [Harmonices Mundi], Book 5, Introduction (1618)

Alt. trans.:
  • "It may well wait a century for a reader, as God has waited six thousand years for an observer." [in David Brewster, The Martyrs of Science; or, the Lives of Galileo, Tycho Brahe, and Kepler (1841)]
  • "It may be well to wait a century for a reader, as God has waited six thousand years for an observer."
  • "I feel carried away and possessed by an unutterable rapture over the divine spectacle of heavenly harmony ... I write a book for the present time, or for posterity. It is all the same to me. It may wait a hundred years for its readers, as God has also waited six thousand years for an onlooker." [in S Krantz and B Blank, Calculus: Multivariable (2006)]
  • "I am stealing the golden vessels of the Egyptians to build a tabernacle to my God from them, far far away from the boundaries of Egypt. If you forgive me, I shall rejoice.; if you are enraged with me, I shall bear it. See, I cast the die, and I write the book. Whether it is to be read by the people of the present or of the future makes no difference: let it await its reader for a hundred years, if God himself has stood ready for six thousand years for one to study him."
Added on 18-Feb-15 | Last updated 18-Feb-15
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In disputes upon moral or scientific points, ever let your aim be to come at truth, not to conquer your opponent: so you never shall be at a loss in losing the argument, and gaining a new discovery.

James Burgh (1714-1775) British politician and writer
The Dignity of Human Nature, Sec. 5 “Miscellaneous Thoughts on Prudence in Conversation” (1754)
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Added on 2-Oct-14 | Last updated 2-Oct-14
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Life would be unbearably dull if we had answers to all our questions.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Death Masks (2003)
Added on 18-Feb-14 | Last updated 18-Feb-14
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History, like beauty, depends largely on the beholder, so when you read that, for example, David Livingstone discovered the Victoria Falls, you might be forgiven for thinking that there was nobody around the Falls until Livingstone arrived on the scene.

Desmond Tutu (b. 1931) South African cleric, Archbishop of Cape Town, Nobel Laureate
“Fortieth Anniversary of the Republic,” speech (1981)

See Richard Cumberland.
Added on 28-Nov-11 | Last updated 14-Jan-15
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No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new Heaven to the human spirit.

Helen Keller (1880-1968) American author and lecturer
“Optimism” (1903)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 16-Feb-15
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The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not “Eureka!” but “That’s funny…”

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) Russian-American author, polymath, biochemist
(Attributed)

Unsourced. More information here.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 2-Mar-15
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