Dostoevsky gives me more than any scientist, more than Gauss!

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.

He who joyfully marches in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him, the spinal cord would suffice.

All our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike -- and yet it is the most precious thing we have.

If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal. Not to people or things.

Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.

Insanity--doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Yes, we have to divide up our time like that, between politics and equations. But to me our equations are far more important, for politics are only a matter of present concern. A mathematical equation stands forever.

You see, the wire telegraph is a kind of very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is there is no cat.

When I examined myself, and my methods of thought, I came to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.

Werner Heisenberg

Physics and Beyond

For if I had learned one thing from my experiences during the civil war, it was that one must never judge a political movement by the aims it so loudly and perhaps genuinely strives to attain, but only by the means it uses to achieve them. 44

But these men [heroes of Icelandic sagas] wanted above all to be free, and they respected the right of others to be as free as they were themselves. They fought over possessions or honor, but not for power over others. [Bohr to Heisenberg.] 50

We must be clear that, when it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry. [Bohr] 41

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth. [Bohr] 102

All this is sheer madness. [Pauli to Heisenberg regarding electron orbits.]

Science progresses not only because it helps to explain newly discovered facts, but also because it teaches us over and over again what the word 'understanding' may mean. [Carl Friedrich] 124

Perhaps our ability to convince others depends on the intensity in which we can persuade ourselves of the force of our own imagination. [Bohr] 131

I believe that if the development of atomic physics has taught us anything, it is that we must learn to think more subtly than in the past. [Bohr] 92

Though my first seminar on atomic theory was attended by just one student, I was convinced that I would eventually make many fresh converts to the new atomic physics. 93


By convention there is sweet, by convention there is bitter, by convention hot and cold, by convention colour; but in reality there are only atoms and space. —420 BC

Richard Feynman

Physics isn't important; love is.

Physics is like sex. Sure, it may give some practical results, but that's not why we do it.

Galileo Galilei

Philosophy is written in the great book which never lies before our eyes--I mean the universe--but we cannot understand it if we do not first learn the language and grasp the symbols, in which it was written. The book is written in the mathematical language, and the symbols are triangles, circles, and other geometric figures, without whose help it is impossible to comprehend a single word of it; without which one wanders in vain through a dark labyrinth.