„When... a simple principle has been discovered... then this principle or law itself generally leads to the discovery of a still wider range of hitherto unregarded phenomena... Every great advance of science opens our eyes to facts which we had failed before to observe, and makes new demands...“

—  Karl Pearson, buch The Grammar of Science

Introductory
The Grammar of Science (1900)

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Karl Pearson Foto
Karl Pearson65
English mathematician and biometrician 1857 - 1936

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Max Planck Foto
William John Macquorn Rankine Foto
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Foto
Adolphe Quetelet Foto
John Herschel Foto

„We must never forget that it is principles, not phenomena, — laws not insulated independent facts, — which are the objects of inquiry to the natural philosopher.“

—  John Herschel English mathematician, astronomer, chemist and photographer 1792 - 1871

A Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy (1831)
Kontext: We must never forget that it is principles, not phenomena, — laws not insulated independent facts, — which are the objects of inquiry to the natural philosopher. As truth is single, and consistent with itself, a principle may be as completely and as plainly elucidated by the most familiar and simple fact, as by the most imposing and uncommon phenomenon. The colours which glitter on a soapbubble are the immediate consequence of a principle the most important, from the variety of phenomena it explains, and the most beautiful, from its simplicity and compendious neatness, in the whole science of optics. If the nature of periodical colours can be made intelligible by the contemplation of such a trivial object, from that moment it becomes a noble instrument in the eye of correct judgment; and to blow a large, regular, and durable soap-bubble may become the serious and praise-worthy endeavour of a sage, while children stand round and scoff, or children of a larger growth hold up their hands in astonishment at such waste of time and trouble. To the natural philosopher there is no natural object unimportant or trifling. From the least of nature's works he may learn the greatest lessons. The fall of an apple to the ground may raise his thoughts to the laws which govern the revolutions of the planets in their orbits; or the situation of a pebble may afford him evidence of the state of the globe he inhabits, myriads of ages ago, before his species became its denizens.
And this, is, in fact, one of the great sources of delight which the study of natural science imparts to its votaries. A mind which has once imbibed a taste for scientific inquiry, and has learnt the habit of applying its principles readily to the cases which occur, has within itself an inexhaustible source of pure and exciting contemplations. One would think that Shakspeare had such a mind in view when he describes a contemplative man as finding

Charles Dickens Foto
James Jeans Foto

„The charm of our studies, the enchantment of science, is that, everywhere and always, we can give the justification of our principles and the proof of our discoveries.“

—  Mordechai Ben-Ari Israeli computer scientist 1948

Quelle: Just a Theory: Exploring the Nature of Science (2005), Chapter 5, “Pseudoscience: What Some People Do Isn’t Science” (p. 98; quoting Louis Pasteur)

Ernst Mach Foto
John Dewey Foto

„Every great advance in science has issued from a new audacity of imagination.“

—  John Dewey American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer 1859 - 1952

The Quest for Certainty (1929), Ch. XI
Misc. Quotes
Quelle: The Quest for Certainty: A Study of the Relation of Knowledge and Action

Thomas Young (scientist) Foto
Wilhelm Von Humboldt Foto

„The grand, leading principle, towards which every argument hitherto unfolded in these pages directly converges, is the absolute and essential importance of human development in its richest diversity“

—  Wilhelm Von Humboldt German (Prussian) philosopher, government functionary, diplomat, and founder of the University of Berlin 1767 - 1835

Quelle: The Limits of State Action (1792), Ch. 6
Kontext: The grand, leading principle, towards which every argument hitherto unfolded in these pages directly converges, is the absolute and essential importance of human development in its richest diversity; but national education, since at least it presupposes the selection and appointment of some one instructor, must always promote a definite form of development, however careful to avoid such an error. And hence it is attended with all those disadvantages which we before observed to flow from such a positive policy; and it only remains to be added, that every restriction becomes more directly fatal, when it operates on the moral part of our nature,—that if there is one thing more than another which absolutely requires free activity on the part of the individual, it is precisely education, whose object it is to develop the individual.

Albert A. Michelson Foto

„The more important fundamental laws and facts of physical science have all been discovered, and these are so firmly established that the possibility of their ever being supplanted in consequence of new discoveries is exceedingly remote.“

—  Albert A. Michelson American physicist 1852 - 1931

Light Waves and Their Uses. By Albert A. Michelson. Published by The University of Chicago Press, 1903, pp 23-25.
Kontext: Before entering into these details, however, it may be well to reply to the very natural question: What would be the use of such extreme refinement in the science of measurement? Very briefly and in general terms the answer would be that in this direction the greater part of all future discovery must lie. The more important fundamental laws and facts of physical science have all been discovered, and these are so firmly established that the possibility of their ever being supplanted in consequence of new discoveries is exceedingly remote. Nevertheless, it has been found that there are apparent exceptions to most of these laws, and this is particularly true when the observations are pushed to a limit, i. e., whenever the circumstances of experiment are such that extreme cases can be examined. Such examination almost surely leads, not to the overthrow of the law, but to the discovery of other facts and laws whose action produces the apparent exceptions.As instances of such discoveries, which are in most cases due to the increasing order of accuracy made possible by improvements in measuring instruments, may be mentioned: first, the departure of actual gases from the simple laws of the so-called perfect gas, one of the practical results being the liquefaction of air and all known gases; second, the discovery of the velocity of light by astronomical means, depending on the accuracy of telescopes and of astronomical clocks; third, the determination of distances of stars and the orbits of double stars, which depend on measurements of the order of accuracy of one-tenth of a second—an angle which may be represented as that which a pin's head subtends at a distance of a mile. But perhaps the most striking of such instances are the discovery of a new planet by observations of the small irregularities noticed by Leverier in the motions of the planet Uranus, and the more recent brilliant discovery by Lord Rayleigh of a new element in the atmosphere through the minute but unexplained anomalies found in weighing a given volume of nitrogen. Many instances might be cited, but these will suffice to justify the statement that "our future discoveries must be looked for in the sixth place of decimals." It follows that every means which facilitates accuracy in measurement is a possible factor in a future discovery, and this will, I trust, be a sufficient excuse for bringing to your notice the various methods and results which form the subject matter of these lectures.

Richard von Mises Foto
William John Macquorn Rankine Foto

„A physical theory, like an abstract science, consists of definitions and axioms as first principles, and of propositions, their consequences; but with these differences:—first, That in an abstract science, a definition assigns a name to a class of notions derived originally from observation, but not necessarily corresponding to any existing objects of real phenomena, and an axiom states a mutual relation amongst such notions, or the names denoting them; while in a physical science, a definition states properties common to a class of existing objects, or real phenomena, and a physical axiom states a general law as to the relations of phenomena; and, secondly,—That in an abstract science, the propositions first discovered are the most simple; whilst in a physical theory, the propositions first discovered are in general numerous and complex, being formal laws, the immediate results of observation and experiment, from which the definitions and axioms are subsequently arrived at by a process of reasoning differing from that whereby one proposition is deduced from another in an abstract science, partly in being more complex and difficult, and partly in being to a certain extent tentative, that is to say, involving the trial of conjectural principles, and their acceptance or rejection according as their consequences are found to agree or disagree with the formal laws deduced immediately from observation and experiment.“

—  William John Macquorn Rankine civil engineer 1820 - 1872

Quelle: "Outlines of the Science of Energetics," (1855), p. 121; Second paragraph

Brook Taylor Foto
Susan Sontag Foto
George Bancroft Foto

„No science has been reached, no thought generated, no truth discovered, which has not from all time existed potentially in every human mind.“

—  George Bancroft American historian and statesman 1800 - 1891

Literary and Historical Miscellanies (1855), The Necessity, the Reality, and the Promise of the Progress of the Human Race (1854)
Kontext: No science has been reached, no thought generated, no truth discovered, which has not from all time existed potentially in every human mind. The belief in the progress of the race does not, therefore, spring from the supposed possibility of his acquiring new faculties, or coming into the possession of a new nature.
Still less does truth vary. They speak falsely who say that truth is the daughter of time; it is the child of eternity, and as old as the Divine mind. The perception of it takes place in the order of time; truth itself knows nothing of the succession of ages. Neither does morality need to perfect itself; it is what it always has been, and always will be. Its distinctions are older than the sea or the dry land, than the earth or the sun. The relation of good to evil is from the beginning, and is unalterable.

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