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Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.

Carl Sagan (1934-1996) American scientist and writer

The words come from a profile of Sagan, "Seeking Other Worlds," Newsweek (15 Aug 1977). The final paragraph reads:

“A serious search with negative results says something of profound importance,” Sagan argues. “We discover there’s something almost forbidden about life ... if it turns out we really are alone.” But clearly, Sagan is looking for a happier result. There may be no galumphing green Barsoomian giants to satisfy the fantasies of a romantic Brooklyn boy. But no doubt, there are even stranger discoveries to be made ... some totally new phenomenon perhaps ... Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.

Those final words, not a quotation, have been broadly mistaken for an actual statement by Sagan.

Sharon Begley, one of the writers of the article, has confirmed the words are hers.

Sagan's daughter , Sasha Sagan, has also disavowed the quotation, noting that her father would never have used "incredible" in such a context, as the word literally means "not credible."

More discussion: Somewhere, Something Incredible Is Waiting To Be Known – Quote Investigator®.
Added on 15-Mar-23 | Last updated 15-Mar-23
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I do so wish sometimes, that I could just pop home for an hour or two as easily in the flesh as in the spirit. No doubt the explorers of 2015, if there is anything left to explore, will not only carry their pocket wireless telephones fitted with wireless telescopes but will also receive their nourishment and warmth by wireless means & also their power to drive their motor sledges, but, of course, there will be an aerial daily excursion to both Poles then & it will be the bottom of the Atlantic, if not the centre of the earth, that will form the goal in those days.

Thomas Orde-Lees (1877-1948) British naval officer, arctic explorer, mountaineer, writer
Diary entry, HMS Endurance (10 Jan 1915)

Written while the ship was trapped in the ice during Ernest Shackleton's ill-fated Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Some versions of the quotation refer to "2012," rather than 2015.

While the reference to "pocket wireless telephones" makes this quotation suspect, Orde-Lees has extensive diary material published, and this appears to be genuine.
Added on 13-Oct-20 | Last updated 16-Oct-20
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An answer is invariably the parent of a great family of new questions.

John Steinbeck (1902-1968) American writer
The Log from the Sea of Cortez, ch. 16, March 25 (1951)
Added on 13-Apr-18 | Last updated 13-Apr-18
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I give you now Professor Twist,
A conscientious scientist.
Trustees exclaimed, “He never bungles!”
And sent him off to distant jungles.
Camped on a tropic riverside,
One day he missed his loving bride.
She had, the guide informed him later,
Been eaten by an alligator.
Professor Twist could not but smile.
“You mean,” he said, “a crocodile.”

Ogden Nash (1902-1971) American poet
“The Purist”
Added on 24-Aug-16 | Last updated 24-Aug-16
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Was I to believe him in earnest in his intention to penetrate to the centre of this massive globe? Had I been listening to the mad speculations of a lunatic, or to the scientific conclusions of a lofty genius? Where did truth stop? Where did error begin?

Jules Verne (1828-1905) French novelist, poet, playwright
Journey to the Center of the Earth, ch. 7 “A Woman’s Courage” (1864) [tr. Malleson]
Added on 1-Jul-16 | Last updated 1-Jul-16
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There ought not to be anything in the whole universe that man can’t poke his nose into — that’s the way we’re built and I assume that there’s some reason for it.

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
Methuselah’s Children [Lazarus Long] (1958)
Added on 11-Aug-15 | Last updated 11-Aug-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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Frank O’Connor, the Irish writer, tells in one of his books how, as a boy, he and his friends would make their way across the countryside, and when they came to an orchard wall that seemed too high and too doubtful to try and too difficult to permit their voyage to continue, they took off their hats and tossed them over the wall — and then they had no choice but to follow them. This Nation has tossed its cap over the wall of space, and we have no choice but to follow it.

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) US President (1961-63)
Speech, San Antonio, TX (21 Nov 1963)
Added on 2-Jun-14 | Last updated 2-Jun-14
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Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go,
And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

Walt Whitman (1819-1892) American poet
“Passage to India,” part 13 (1871)
Added on 12-Mar-14 | Last updated 12-Mar-14
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He who breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) English writer, fabulist, philologist, academic [John Ronald Reuel Tolkien]
The Lord of the Rings, Vol. 1: The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 2, ch. 1 “The Council of Elrond” [Gandalf to Saruman] (1954)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 20-Oct-22
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