Happiness is doing it rotten your own way.
Oh, for a pin that would puncture pretension!
Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
I'm not a speed reader. I'm a speed understander.
Writing to me is simply thinking through my fingers.
The day you stop learning is the day you begin decaying.
The Earth is the only home that any of us have—so far, anyway.
Life originated in the sea, and about 80% of it is still there.
It pays to be obvious, especially if you have a reputation for subtlety.
If we were blind for one day each year, how we would enjoy the other 364.
Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.
Life is a journey, but don't worry, you'll find a parking spot at the end.
Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome.
It has been my philosophy of life that difficulties vanish when faced boldly.
The greatest inventors are unknown to us. Someone invented the wheel—but who?
If Freud is not the Pasteur of mental illness, he is at least the Hippocrates.
Surely no child, and few adults, have ever watched a bird in flight without envy.
Science can amuse and fascinate us all, but it is engineering that changes the world.
A poor idea well written is more likely to be accepted than a good idea poorly written.
Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.
Of all extinct life-forms, dinosaurs are the most popular. Why that should be is not clear.
To many of us, the first law of dietetics seems to be: if it tastes good, it's bad for you.
The nations may be divided in everything else, but they all share a single body of science.
There seems to be a feeling that anything that is natural must be good. Strychnine is natural.
Any increase in knowledge anywhere helps pave the way for an increase in knowledge everywhere.
How bright and beautiful a comet is as it flies past our planet — provided it does fly past it.
A hypothesis may be simply defined as a guess. A scientific hypothesis is an intelligent guess.
If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.
Everything about microscopic life is terribly upsetting. How can things so small be so important?
It's humbling to think that all animals, including human beings, are parasites of the plant word.
Anyone who writes about science must know about science, which cuts down competition considerably.
Human beings can easily destroy every elephant on Earth, but we are helpless against the mosquito.
Science in the service of humanity is technology, but lack of wisdom may make the service harmful.
That is very little flexibility in the behavior of the universe. What it does once, it does again.
Science must be taught well, if a student is to understand the coming decades he must live through.
When you say, "The burned child dreads the fire," you mean that he is already a master of induction.
Religion cannot object to science on moral grounds. The history of religious intolerance forbids it.
If there is a just God, how humanity would writhe in its attempt to justify its treatment of animals.
The mere existence of nuclear weapons by the thousands is an incontrovertible sign of human insanity.
We all know we fall. Newton's discovery was that the moon falls too—and by the same rules that we do.
Whatever else astronomy may or may not be, who can doubt it to be the most beautiful of the sciences?
Since the universe is defined as including all that exists, it is useless to ask what lies beyond it.
We've lost all geographical frontiers on Earth, but new and far larger ones exist at Earth's doorstep.
Radiation, unlike smoking, drinking and overeating, gives no pleasure, so the possible victims object.
Those who reject biological evolution do so, usually, not out of reason, but out of unjustified vanity.
It is a sign of our power, and our criminal folly, then we can pollute the vast ocean and are doing so.
When the practice of farming spread over the earth, mankind experienced its first population explosion.
Society is itself a kind of organism, an enormously powerful one, but unfortunately not a very wise one.
The wish to believe, even against evidence, fuels all the pseudo-sciences from astrology to creationism.
Every hour a scientist spends trying to raise funds is an hour lost from important thought and research.
Birds sing sweetly, but someone awakened by them at 5 a.m. of a summer morning might dispute the adverb.
Wait a thousand years and even the garbage left behind by a vanished civilization becomes precious to us.
Psychology marks the triumph of human evolution. How many other species would need a science of the mind?
The worlds of our solar system are widely different, but all share a common gravitational tie to the sun.
The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.
There is something particularly human about using tools; the first and most important tool being language.
Physics the basic science. One can easily argue that all other sciences are specialized aspects of physics.
The law of conservation of energy tells us we can't get something for nothing, but we refuse to believe it.
There is an art to science, and science in art; the two are not enemies, but different aspects of the whole.
Sherlock Holmes pointed out that one might see, yet not observe. That's a basic cause of much human failure.
The difference between electricity and electronics is the difference between a toaster and a television set.
The Earth is a book in which we read not only its history, but the history of the living things it has borne.
No man has a sorrier lot than the weatherman. He is ignored when he is right, but execrated when he is wrong.
Genetics seems to be everything to those who have convinced themselves they have arisen from worthy ancestors.
The significant chemicals of living tissue are rickety and unstable, which is exactly what is needed for life.
The human mechanism is marvelous. But why not—it is the result of three-and-a-half billion years of tinkering.
A scientist is as weak and human as any man, but the pursuit of science may ennoble him even against his will.
To insult someone we call him "bestial." For deliberate cruelty and malice, "human" might be a greater insult.
Religion considers the Universe deterministic and science considers it probabilistic—an important distinction.
It is strange, but rocks, properly chosen and polished, can be as beautiful as flowers, and much more durable.
The living human being seems to consist of nothing more than matter and energy. Spirit is merely an assumption.
Such is the respect for physicians that most people are astonished when one of them falls sick—and yet they do.
Some might accept evolution, if it allowed human beings to be created by God, but evolution won't work halfway.
"Research" means "to search again." Why not? Sometimes, a new interpretation emerges that is of vast importance.
To prevent overpopulation there must be more deaths or fewer births. Refuse the latter; there will be the former.
There is no belief, however foolish, that will not gather its faithful adherents who will defend it to the death.
Human societies are everywhere complex, for living at peace with ourselves requires a vast multiplicity of rules.
A subtle thought that is in error may yet give rise to fruitful inquiry that can establish truths of great value.
Organisms are made up of cells much as societies are made up of individual beings, and for much the same reasons.
The rainbow, "the bridge of the gods," proved to be the bridge to our understanding of light—much more important.
What can be more important than the science of life to any intelligent being who has the good fortune to be alive?
The card player begins by arranging his hand for maximum sense. Scientists do the same with the facts they gather.
A neat and orderly laboratory is unlikely. It is, after all, so much a place of false starts and multiple attempts.
Humanity is cutting down its forests, apparently oblivious to the fact that we may not be able to live without them.
It is the easiest thing in the world to deny a fact. People do it all the time. Yet it remains a fact just the same.
Circumstantial evidence can be overwhelming. We have never seen an atom, but we nevertheless know that it must exist.
Matter is concentrated energy. When a small bit of it is converted to other forms of energy, the result is an H-bomb.
Stars look serene, but they are incredibly violent furnaces that occasionally erupt in incredibly violent explosions.
Experimentation is the least arrogant method of gaining knowledge. The experimenter humbly asks a question of nature.
What makes it so hard to organize the environment sensibly is that everything we touch is hooked up to everything else.
Facts are a heap of bricks and timber. It is only a successful theory that can convert the heap into a stately mansion.
The sun is all in all to us, the center from which all arises, but look wider, and it is only one of countless billions.
I don't believe in personal immortality; the only way I expect to have some version of such a thing is through my books.
It is hard to describe the exact route to scientific achievement, but a good scientist doesn't get lost as he travels it.
Computers are better than we are at arithmetic, not because computers are so good at it, but because we are so bad at it.
It is the writer who might catch the imagination of young people, and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition.
The greatest weapons in the conquest of knowledge are an understanding mind and the inexorable curiosity that drives it on.
To test a perfect theory with imperfect instruments did not impress the Greek philosophers as a valid way to gain knowledge.
My answer to the question "Why do you write?" is that I write for the same reason I breathe—because if I didn't, I would die.
It has always been my ambition to die in harness with my head face down on a keyboard and my nose caught between two of the keys.
It takes more than capital to swing business. You've got to have the AID degree to get by— Advertising, Initiative, and Dynamics.
Scientific apparatus offers a window to knowledge, but as they grow more elaborate, scientists spend ever more time washing the windows.
The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' (I found it!) but 'That's funny ...'
Where is the world whose people don't prefer a comfortable, warm, and well-worn belief, however illogical, to the chilly winds of uncertainty?
"Philosopher" is Greek for "lover of wisdom." How many students have longed for some philosophers to be, with equal dedication, "haters of obscurity."
Jokes of the proper kind, properly told, can do more to enlighten questions of politics, philosophy, and literature than any number of dull arguments.
It was not until 1901 that humanity knew that nuclear energy existed. It is understandable now—but useless—to wish that we still lived in the ignorance of 1900.
For many centuries chemists labored to change lead into precious gold, and eventually found that precious uranium turned to lead without any human effort at all.
It is a great deal easier to believe in the existence of parapsychological phenomena, if one is ignorant of, or indifferent to, the nature of scientific evidence.
Science is a mechanism, a way of trying to improve your knowledge of nature. It's a system for testing your thoughts against the universe, and seeing whether they match.
Old men tend to forget what thought was like in their youth; they forget the quickness of the mental jump, the daring of the youthful intuition, the agility of the fresh insight.
When I read constantly about the way in which library funds are being cut and cut, I can only think that the door is closing and that American society has found one more way to destroy itself.
Pierre Curie, a brilliant scientist, happened to marry a still more brilliant one—Marie, the famous Madame Curie—and is the only great scientist in history who is consistently identified as the husband of someone else.
The fertilized ovum of a mouse and a whale look much like, but differences quickly show up in the course of their development. If we could study their molecules with the naked eyes, we would see the differences from the start.
The Moon and its phases gave man his first calendar. Trying to match that calendar with the seasons helped give him mathematics. The usefulness of the calendar helped give rise to the thought of beneficent gods. And with all that the Moon is beautiful, too.
It is quite possible that mathematics was invented in the ancient Middle East to keep track of tax receipts and grain stores. How odd that out of this should come a subtle scientific language that can effectively describe and predict the most arcane aspects of the Universe.
There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul.
It isn't just a library. It is a space ship that will take you to the farthest reaches of the Universe, a time machine that will take you to the far past and the far future, a teacher that knows more than any human being, a friend that will amuse you and console you—and most of all, a gateway, to a better and happier and more useful life.
The work of Planck and Einstein proved that light behaved as particles in some ways and that the ether therefore was not needed for light to travel through a vacuum. When this was done, the ether was no longer useful and it was dropped with a glad cry. The ether has never been required since. It does not exist now; in fact, it never existed.