Notable Quotes

Gravity must be caused by an agent, acting constantly according to certain laws; but whether this agent be material or immaterial, I have left to the consideration of my readers.

Our present work sets forth mathematical principles of philosophy

Sir Isaac Newton and Dr. Bentley met accidentally in London, and on Sir Isaac’s inquiring what philosophical pursuits were carrying on at Cambridge, the doctor replied — None — for when you go a hunting Sir Isaac, you kill all the game; you have left us nothing to pursue. — Not so, said the philosopher, you may start a variety of game in every bush if you will but take the trouble to beat for it

Absolute space, of its own nature without reference to anything external, always remains homogenous and immovable. Relative space is any movable measure or dimension of this absolute space; such a measure or dimension is determined by our senses from the situation of the space with respect to bodies and is popularly used for immovable space, as in the case of space under the earth or in the air or in the heavens, where the dimension is determined from the situation of the space with respect to the earth. Absolute and relative space are the same in species and in magnitude, but they do not always remain the same numerically. For example, if the earth moves, the space of our air, which in a relative sense and with respect to the earth always remains the same, will now be one part of the absolute space into which the air passes, now another part of it, and thus will be changing continually in an absolute sense.

Absolute, true, and mathematical time, in and of itself and of its own nature, without reference to anything external, flows uniformly and by another name is called duration. Relative, apparent, and common time is any sensible and external measure (precise or imprecise) of duration by means of motion; such as a measure—for example, an hour, a day, a month, a year—is commonly used instead of true time.

I have presented principles of philosophy that are not, however, philosophical but strictly mathematical—that is, those on which the study of philosophy can be based. These principles are the laws and conditions of motions and of forces, which especially relate to philosophy.

If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.

No old Men (excepting Dr. Wallis) love Mathematicks.

The best and safest way of philosophising seems to be, first to enquire diligently into the properties of things, and to establish those properties by experiences [experiments] and then to proceed slowly to hypotheses for the explanation of them. For hypotheses should be employed only in explaining the properties of things, but not assumed in determining them; unless so far as they may furnish experiments.

Therefore to the same natural effects we must, as far as possible, assign the same causes.

To any action there is always an opposite and equal reaction; in other words, the actions of two bodies upon each other are always equal and always opposite in direction.

Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.

Quickest way to catch a politician. Ask two questions and watch what doesn’t get answered.

We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances.

You sometimes speak of gravity as essential and inherent to matter. Pray do not ascribe that notion to me, for the cause of gravity is what I do not pretend to know, and therefore would take more time to consider of it.

There is not a discovery in science, however revolutionary, however sparkling with insight, that does not arise out of what went before. “If I have seen further than other men,” said Isaac Newton, “it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.”

Isaac Asimov

In science, address the few; in literature, the many. In science, the few must dictate opinion to the many; in literature, the many, sooner or later, force their judgement on the few. But the few and the many are not necessarily the few and the many of the passing time: for discoverers in science have not un-often, in their own day, had the few against them; and writers the most permanently popular not unfrequently found, in their own day, a frigid reception from the many. By the few, I mean those who must ever remain the few, from whose dieta we, the multitude, take fame upon trust; by the many, I mean those who constitute the multitude in the long-run. We take the fame of a Harvey or a Newton upon trust, from the verdict of the few in successive generations; but the few could never persuade us to take poets and novelists on trust. We, the many, judge for ourselves of Shakespeare and Cervantes.

In science, address the few; in literature, the many.

In science, address the few; in literature, the many. In science, the few must dictate opinion to the many; in literature, the many, sooner or later, force their judgement on the few.

Religious creeds are a great obstacle to any full sympathy between the outlook of the scientist and the outlook which religion is so often supposed to require …

There have been only three epoch-making mathematicians, Archimedes, Newton, and Eisenstein.

Newton did not shut out the physical view, but had evidently thought deeply of it; and if he thought of it, why should not we, in these advanced days, do so too?

During the century after Newton, it was still possible for a man of unusual attainments to master all fields of scientific knowledge. But by 1800, this had become entirely impracticable.

It is a vulgar belief that our astronomical knowledge dates only from the recent century when it was rescued from the monks who imprisoned Galileo; but Hipparchus … who among other achievements discovered the precession of the eqinoxes, ranks with the Newtons and the Keplers; and Copernicus, the modern father of our celestial science, avows himself, in his famous work, as only the champion of Pythagoras, whose system he enforces and illustrates. Even the most modish schemes of the day on the origin of things, which captivate as much by their novelty as their truth, may find their precursors in ancient sages, and after a careful analysis of the blended elements of imagination and induction which charaterise the new theories, they will be found mainly to rest on the atom of Epicurus and the monad of Thales. Scientific, like spiritual truth, has ever from the beginning been descending from heaven to man.

I believe in logic, the sequence of cause and effect, and in science its only begotten son our law, which was conceived by the ancient Greeks, thrived under Isaac Newton, suffered under Albert Einstein…

Newton’s health, and confusion to mathematics.

Being upwind of America in time terms may make any internet battle from the UK more easy to mount successfully. Look East though, they have the same advantage on you.

There are two reasons to go to University, one is to pass, and the other is to study. One is sometimes confined to the requirements of the other.

Fools can make wise men look foolish later on, playing the fool initially may therefore make sense, especially in the Internet age. Looking stupid is often good too. Many an unjudged word is said in anger or casualness. People ‘below’ you are so easy to scorn.

We should curtail free speech only so far as to make shouting “FIRE” or “GUN” or “NIGGER” in a crowded theatre illegal.

It may often go almost unnoticed, those functionaries running around corridors at fringe meetings in politics. Doing a ‘proxy’ job of keeping you to the schedule you have agreed to previously with the organisation. A man who stands a few paces in at the back off the hall cutting his own throat if you run over, or patiently down counting minute fingers until then. Unnoticed by most of the room except the top table and the few people immediately behind. Doing 6-10 rooms at once. You met him when he ushered out the meeting before and had a frantic 15 minutes with hotel staff support to get your meeting setup and running. You understood the schedule you are running to as he reminded you before you started. He probably has a radio on his hip to try and chase that important speaker without which you cannot start and the schedule clock is running regardless. He asked and knows who the last speaker is and made himself known to them. Need to recognise the idiot at the back doing funny things later when required. And don’t ask him about the press. You  think you have problems, try his for a while.

The highest compliment a guy like that is likely to get is when some rather senior politician says quietly to him as he implements the hardest job in the world of herding politicians, “You ought to be in the Diplomatic Service” and be in a position to know because that was one of his brief in parliament.

Not one to tangle with in adlibs. The,

“There’s a man at the back of the room trying to stop me in what I’m saying”

is likely to be met with

“No, I’m trying to get the next meeting in here who have every much right to be heard as you” response, in a voice trained to carry a room without microphone. This is my playground and the management set the rules. Polite always. Firm though if required. Your name and title is not important. This is all totally impassionate. Just a functionary.

Most creative discussions occur in clearly signed, ‘in the round’, debating/talking rooms down a corridor rather than at the street corner or bar or rally.

Use the power of the Internet carefully. Google and the Wayback Machine are powerful tools. They are often used in disguise by your enemy. If you turn them to your advantage then, the sharp edge they present, may cause untold damage if that particular “Sauron’s Eye” comes to sharp focus. People die in the real world as well.

If you will insist on just looking further down the rabbit hole you are in why are you expecting to find anything other than possibly some important details previously overlooked? Try finding other holes to dig, as well. They may be shorter to your goal than trying to burrow sideways or up.

When communicating with someone, try figuring out if it is the forebrain or the backbrain that is to the fore right now. If the person is famous or talented or average or whatever, they will speak with both voices. Listen for both.

Amicus Plato amicus Aristoteles magis amica verita. Plato is my friend, Aristotle is my friend, but my greatest friend is truth.

— Sir Isaac Newton

Written in the margin of a notebook while a student at Cambridge. In Richard S. Westfall, Never at Rest (1980), 89.

Science quotes on:  |  Aristotle (104)  |  Plato (32)  |  Truth (495)

Hypotheses non fingo. I frame no hypotheses.

I cannot calculate the madness of people.

I see I have made my self a slave to Philosophy.

If I have done the public any service this way, ’tis due to nothing but industry and a patient thought.

Kepler’s laws, although not rigidly true, are sufficiently near to the truth to have led to the discovery of the law of attraction of the bodies of the solar system. The deviation from complete accuracy is due to the facts, that the planets are not of inappreciable mass, that, in consequence, they disturb each other’s orbits about the Sun, and, by their action on the Sun itself, cause the periodic time of each to be shorter than if the Sun were a fixed body, in the subduplicate ratio of the mass of the Sun to the sum of the masses of the Sun and Planet; these errors are appreciable although very small, since the mass of the largest of the planets, Jupiter, is less than 1/1000th of the Sun’s mass.

Nature does nothing in vain when less will serve; for Nature is pleased with simplicity and affects not the pomp of superfluous causes.

The best and safest way of philosophising seems to be, first to enquire diligently into the properties of things, and to establish those properties by experiences [experiments] and then to proceed slowly to hypotheses for the explanation of them. For hypotheses should be employed only in explaining the properties of things, but not assumed in determining them; unless so far as they may furnish experiments.

Therefore, the causes assigned to natural effects of the same kind must be, so far as possible, the same.

First page Google search ranking is always a goal. Take care not to shoot yourself in the foot/head on the way. Mark the others failings as they fall as the internet never forgets. If you can find an unpopulated 4 – 6 word search term, go for it. Stake that claim. You might need it later on, even years later, for attack or defence.

The highest reach of science is, one may say, an inventive power, a faculty of divination, akin to the highest power exercised in poetry; therefore, a nation whose spirit is characterised by energy may well be eminent in science; and we have Newton. Shakspeare [sic] and Newton: in the intellectual sphere there can be no higher names. And what that energy, which is the life of genius, above everything demands and insists upon, is freedom; entire independence of all authority, prescription and routine, the fullest room to expand as it will.

In a lifetime of being wrong at many a point, I was never more wrong. It was I, not he, who was wandering in the periphery. It was he, not I, who lived in the blaze.

I am wrong. I know nothing. Easier to start there rather than ‘know’ something as ‘fact’ which then, later, turns out to be ‘supposition’.

All revolutionary advances in science may consist less of sudden and dramatic revelations than a series of transformations, of which the revolutionary significance may not be seen (except afterwards, by historians) until the last great step. In many cases the full potentiality and force of a most radical step in such a sequence of transformations may not even be manifest to its author.

Newton said, “If I have seen further than others, it is because I’ve stood on the shoulders of giants.” These days we mainly moan about the shortage of supply of local Giants. Either learn to build ladders or Grow Up.

Newton said, “If I have seen further than others, it is because I’ve stood on the shoulders of giants.” These days we stand on each other’s feet!

[Newton wrote to Halley … that he would not give Hooke any credit] That, alas, is vanity. You find it in so many scientists. You know, it has always hurt me to think that Galileo did not acknowledge the work of Kepler.

Throughout his life Newton must have devoted at least as much attention to chemistry and theology as to mathematics. …

The scientific mind of Franklin drew on the scientific determinism of Isaac Newton and the analytic empiricism of David Hume and Gottfried Leibniz.

Very few of us can now place ourselves in the mental condition in which even such philosophers as the great Descartes were involved in the days before Newton had announced the true laws of the motion of bodies.

Answer the simple questions first. Then ask what other simple questions are there that are still waiting to be answered, or indeed asked.

The generalized theory of relativity has furnished still more remarkable results. This considers not only uniform but also accelerated motion. In particular, it is based on the impossibility of distinguishing an acceleration from the gravitation or other force which produces it. Three consequences of the theory may be mentioned of which two have been confirmed while the third is still on trial: (1) It gives a correct explanation of the residual motion of forty-three seconds of arc per century of the perihelion of Mercury. (2) It predicts the deviation which a ray of light from a star should experience on passing near a large gravitating body, the sun, namely, 1″.7. On Newton’s corpuscular theory this should be only half as great. As a result of the measurements of the photographs of the eclipse of 1921 the number found was much nearer to the prediction of Einstein, and was inversely proportional to the distance from the center of the sun, in further confirmation of the theory. (3) The theory predicts a displacement of the solar spectral lines, and it seems that this prediction is also verified.

But is that only an X viewpoint. How does it look in 1/X?




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