Engineering & Science Notable Tech Quote Archive #27
of statements uttered verbally and/or in print is uncountable. Some are more noteworthy
than others either because of sheer brilliance, good humor, or utter inanity. We
all hope our own remembered words, if any, fall into one of the first two categories
rather than the third. I do a lot of reading and find many notable quotes to use
that fit the theme of RF Cafe; they fall into all three categories. I always try
to verify quotes from original sources or at least from printed books like
The Experts Speak, of which I own a hard copy. Enjoy.
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- "Any time the voltage
'over here' is different than the voltage 'over there,' current will flow." - H. Ward
Silver, N0AX, ARRL author of "Hands-On Radio" column in
QST (January 2015). Mr. Silver is also the lead editor of
"Maybe Christmas… doesn't come from a store.
Maybe Christmas, perhaps… means a little bit more!." -
in "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!," by Dr. Seuss.
is no respecter of military emergencies." - K.B. Warner, W1EH, in the January 1942 issue
of QST magazine, regarding the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) decree
suspending indefinitely all amateur radio activities in the U.S. following the December
7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Read the complete "War Comes!"
- "...it is once and for
all clear from the very appearances the earth is in the middle of the world and all weights
move towards it." - Ptolemy,
The Immobility of the Earth in the Centre of the World. Of course
today we know that line of reasoning to be ridiculous since obviously the center of the
world is Washington, D.C., or London, or Buenos Aires, or Canberra, or Beijing, or Seoul,
or Brussels, or Riyadh, or Moscow, or … - just ask any politician.
- "No rocket will reach the moon save by a miraculous
discovery of an explosive far more energetic than any known. And even if the requisite
fuel were produced, it would still have to be shown that the rocket machine would operate
at four hundred and fifty-nine degrees below zero - the temperature of interplanetary
space." Nikola Tesla, from
A Prophet of Science Looks into the Future, November 1928
fifteen years, more electricity will be sold for automobiles than for light." - Thomas
Alva Edison, 1910, as quoted in Science Digest in 1982. This might turn out
to be correct after all, fifteen years from now.
"We learned in school today that there are sixteen
ozzes in a lib." - Lucy Van Pelt to Charlie Brown, from
You've Got a Friend, Charlie Brown, 1972, by Charles Schulz
only one person is missing, and the whole world seems depopulated." - Alphonse de Lamartine,
L'Isolement (a translation of 7th stanza), Méditations Poétiques
(1820) -- to the families of fallen service members.
"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are
cocksure and the intelligent full of doubt." -
Bertrand Russell, in his autobiography,
"It doesn't matter how beautiful your guess
is or how smart you are or what your name is. If it disagrees with experiment, it's wrong.
That's all there is to it." -
Richard Feynman (start video @ 3:52), populist, Nobel Prize winning
- "For disappearing acts,
it's hard to beat what happens to the 8 hours supposedly left after 8 of sleep and 8
of work." - Doug Larson, columnist. This appears in the 2015 edition of
The Old Farmer's Almanac. The article in which it appeared,
"Where Does the Time Go?," has a lot of anecdotal information about how long people live,
average sleep time, TV viewing time, work commuting time, pace of life, etc.
- "The key to being a good manager is keeping the
people who hate you away from those who are still undecided."
Casey Stengel, Major League Baseball manager.
- "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the
alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins,
most of them imaginary." - H. L. Mencken,
In Defense of Women. Does that remind you of any current 'hot button'
tech topics ... like AGW?
- "I think 'Dilbert' will
remain popular as long as employees are frustrated and they fear the consequences of
complaining too loudly. 'Dilbert' is the designated voice of discontent for the workplace.
I never planned it that way. It just happened." -
- "An expert is a person
who has found out by his own painful experience all the mistakes that one can make in
a very narrow field." - Niels Bohr, as quoted by Edward Teller, in
Dr. Edward Teller's Magnificent Obsession, in LIFE magazine (9/6/1954, p62)
- "By installing a booster
we can increase that capability on the order of one to the fourth power." - Captain James
T. Kirk, Commander of the Star Ship Enterprise. While Melanie and I were watching the
Star Trek original television series episode titled "Court Martial," I picked
up on a funny
technical faux pas. Kirk is accused of the negligent death of a crew
member with whom he has had a longtime difficult relationship. Believing that the man
is faking his own death to incriminate him, Capt. Kirk has the ship's auditory sensors
- "If I stay poor enough
long enough, I may be able to accomplish something
really worth while." - ad hoc addendum to poster in the laboratory of
Charles Francis Jenkins, the 'Father of Television,' that began, "They
said it couldn't be done; but he, poor fool, didn't know it, and went ahead and did it."
- "A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are
based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order
to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving." -
Albert Einstein, in
The World as I See It.
is apparent to me that the possibilities of the aeroplane, which two or threes years
ago was thought to hold the solution to the [flying machine] problem, have been exhausted,
and that we must turn elsewhere." - Thomas A. Edison,
New York World,
November 17, 1895. This, from the man who reportedly tried more than 1,000 different
materials for his incandescent light bulb before arriving at a coil of carbon filament.
waves in the earth mean something more than mere telegraphy without wires to any distance.
They will enable us to attain many important specific results impossible otherwise. For
instance, by their use we may produce at will, from a sending-station, an electrical
effect in any particular region of the globe; we may determine the relative position
or course of a moving object, such as a vessel at sea, the distance traversed by the
same, or its speed; or we may send over the earth a wave of electricity traveling at
any rate we desire... " - Nikola Tesla describing a future technology called radar. "The Problem
of Increasing Human Energy," The Century, 1900.
- "One of the biggest causes of hard drive crashes today is a Congressional subpoena."