Simanaitis Says

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SCIENTISTS AND OTHER commentators of science are often very articulate—and entertaining. I’ve been collecting such tidbits on this from one place and another for a while. As a followup to THREE SCIENTISTS WALK INTO A BAR…., here are others of my favorite quotes on things scientific.

On Evolution. I begin with an anonymous but thoughtful  comment: “The goal of science and engineering is to build a better mousetrap. The goal of nature is to build better mice.”

Neil degrasse Tyson. Rock Star cosmologist.

Science’s Rock Star Neil degrasse Tyson said, “We all understand the twinge of discomfort at the thought that we share a common ancestor with the apes. No one can embarrass you like a relative.”

On Computers. Ivan Sutherland, the computer scientist who invented Sketchpad, was asked, “How could you possibly have done the first interactive graphics program, the first non-procedural programming language, the first object-oriented software system, all in one year?” He replied, “Well, I didn’t know it was hard.” 

At another extreme, Pablo Picasso said, “Computers are useless. They can only give answers.”

On Intelligent Life—Anywhere. When Stephen Hawking was asked about his IQ, he responded, “I have no idea. People who boast about the IQ are losers.”

Hawking observed, “We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet.”

Arthur C. Clarke wrote, “I’m sure the universe is full of intelligent life. It’s just been too intelligent to come here.”

Clarke also admitted, “I don’t believe in astrology. I’m a Sagittarian and we’re skeptical.”

Writer Aldous Huxley said, “Maybe this world is another planet’s hell.” 

On Research. Albert Einstein said, “If we knew what we were doing, it would not be called ‘research,’ would it?”

Polymath Isaac Asimov observed, “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!,’ but ‘That’s funny….’”

Mary Lasker, of the Lasker Award, said, “If you think research is expensive, try disease.”

Dr. William Edwards Deming believed, “In God we trust, all others bring data.”


On Non-Science. An anonymous scholar suggested, “Crash programs fail because they are based on the theory that, with nine women pregnant, you can get a baby in a month.” 

Along a similar theme, sci-fi author Ray Bradbury said, “Why would you clone people when you can go to bed with them and make a baby?”

Humorist Bill Maher said, “I see they found out the universe is 80 million years older than we thought. It’s also been lying about its weight.”

On another topic entirely, humor columnist Dave Barry explained, “Electricity is actually made up of extremely tiny particles called electrons that you cannot see with the naked eye unless you have been drinking.” 

Barry also noted, “When you get right down to it, almost every explanation Man came up with for anything until 1926 was stupid.”

Another wit suggested, “I’ve heard the government wants to put a tax on the mathematically ignorant. Funny, I thought that’s what the lottery was.”

Humorist/Musician Greg Tamblyn confessed, “I had trouble with physics in college. When I signed up I thought it said ‘psychics.’ ”

William of Occam, c. 1287-1347, English Franciscan friar and scholastic philosopher, whose Razor suggests that the simpliest solution is most likely the appropriate one. Image by Moscarlop of a stained glass window in Surrey, England.

Greg also described that, “Occam’s Razor is the scientific principle that, all things being equal, the simplest explanation is always the dog ate my homework.” ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2020 

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