Showing posts with label quotes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label quotes. Show all posts

10 Inspiring Quotes From Richard Feynman's Letters

quotes by richard feynman letters

Richard Feynman was a Nobel Prize winning American physicist whose letters have grabbed the attention of media far and wide. They included jokes, anecdotes, puzzles and news for his parents while he worked at institutions across America.

The following 10 quotes by Richard Feynman are extracted from the book titled, Don't you have time to think? edited by his daughter Michelle Feynman. The book, published in April 2005, is a unique collection of Feynman's letters.

1) Letter to mom Lucille Feynman, Oct 1939: Professor Wheeler was called away suddenly last night so I took over his course in mechanics for the day. I spent all last night preparing. It went very nicely and smoothly. It was a good experience - I guess someday I will do a lot of that.

Physicist John Wheeler was Feynman's doctoral advisor. This was probably Feynman's first lecture he gave in the absence of Prof Wheeler, as mentioned. He seemed to have enjoyed teaching and wanted to share that feeling with his mother.

2) Tell pop I have made out a time schedule so as to efficiently distribute my time and will follow it quite closely. There are many hours when I haven't marked down just what to do but I do what I feel is most necessary then or what I am most interested in.

quotes by richard feynman letters

Like most students Feynman also struggled to manage time. At the time this was written Feynman was quite early in his twenties. As suggested by his father, Feynman made a time table to achieve maximum level of productivity in a day.

3) 1940: I am listening to a course in physiology, study of life processes, in the biology dept. It is a graduate course. I don't know at all as much as the 3 other fellows in the class but I can understand and follow everything easily.

Just like this, Feynman was led to new adventures in life by his curiosity. In a 1979 interview given to Omni magazine Feynman said: I don't know anything, but I do know that everything is interesting if you go into it deeply enough.

4) Letter to Arline, the love of his life, year 1945: I feel I am a reservoir for your strength. Without you, I would be empty and weak, like I was before I knew you... but your moments of strength make me strong and thus I am able to comfort you with your own strength when you are down.

5) Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible. Letter to J. M. Szabados (November 1965)

6) Letter to Koichi Mano, February 1966: You say you are a nameless man. You are not to your wife and to your child. You will not long remain so to your immediate colleagues if you can answer their simple questions when they come into your office.

You are not nameless to me. Do not remain nameless to yourself — it is too sad a way to be. Know your place in the world and evaluate yourself fairly, not in terms of the na├»ve ideals of your own youth, nor in terms of what you erroneously imagine your teacher's ideals are.

7) Do not read so much, look about you and think of what you see there. Letter to Ashok Arora, January 1967.

8) The real question of government versus private enterprise is argued on too philosophical and abstract a basis. Theoretically, planning may be good. But nobody has ever figured out the cause of government stupidity — and until they do (and find the cure), all ideal plans will fall into quicksand. 1963 letter to his wife, Gweneth.

9) Tell your son to stop trying to fill your head with science — for to fill your heart with love is enough! Note to the mother of Marcus Chown.

10) Last letter to Arline, written in 1946, after her untimely death due to prolonged tuberculosis: I adore you sweetheart. I find it hard to understand in my mind what it means to love you after you are dead. But I still want to comfort and take care of you — and I want you to love me and care for me.

I want to have problems to discuss with you — I want to do little projects with you. My darling wife, I do adore you. You, dead, are so much better than anyone else alive. I love my wife. My wife is dead. PS: Please excuse my not mailing this but I don't know your new address.

7 Funny Quotes By Physicist Wolfgang Pauli

quantum mechanics quotes wolfgang pauli physics quotes

Wolfgang Pauli was one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century who played critical role in the development of quantum mechanics. He won the Nobel Prize in 1945 after being nominated by Albert Einstein for the discovery of exclusion principle.

Pauli was infamous for his supposed tendency to cause equipment failure whenever he was around. Stories like, his new car failed during a honeymoon without apparent reason, and a cyclotron at Princeton University burnt in 1950 in his presence.


Once at a reception party, his colleagues decided to parody the Pauli effect by deliberately dropping a chandelier upon Pauli's entrance. But to everyone's surprise, the chandelier stuck instead, becoming yet another example of the Pauli effect.

Hence, Pauli was a really mysterious person whose proximity was disliked by experimental physicists. In this post, let us delve into interesting anecdotes and funny quotes of Austrian physicist Wolfgang Pauli, the most legendary scientist of the past century.

Prophet Dirac

In the 1927 Solvay conference, Paul Dirac said: If we are honest, and scientists have to be, we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality. The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination.

Wolfgang Pauli had kept silent. When asked for his opinion, Pauli jokingly replied: Our friend Dirac has a religion of his own and its guiding principle is, "There is no God and Dirac is His prophet." Everybody burst into laughter, including Dirac and Heisenberg.

paul dirac and wolfgang pauli physics
Dirac, Pauli

Elusive Neutrino

Pauli said in 1930: I have done a terrible thing. I have postulated a particle that cannot be detected. After proposing the existence of neutrino, an extremely light electrically neutral particle, that does not participate in the strong interaction and weak force is very short range, so it is very hard to find.

Trolling Heisenberg

Werner Heisenberg claimed to a journalist that Pauli and he had found a unified field theory, but just some technical details were missing. Pauli wrote in a letter, drawing a big rectangle, that "This is to show that I can paint like Titian. Only technical details are missing."

niels bohr werner heisenberg wolfgang pauli physics history quantum mechanics
Bohr, Heisenberg, Pauli

Parity violation

If a system behaves in the mirror image as it normally would, it is said to respect parity symmetry. In 1956, Chinese American physicist Chien-Shiung Wu discovered parity violation, leading Pauli to comment: "I cannot believe God is a weak left-hander!"

Bad science

Wolfgang Pauli was known for his colorful objections to careless thinking. When a colleague showed Pauli his paper, Pauli said after reading: This paper is not only not right; it is not even wrong. The phrase caught on to describe bad science or statements that don't satisfy falsifiability.

Why so serious?

Wolfgang Pauli recalled this incident. A person observed that Pauli was strolling aimlessly in the streets of Copenhagen, and said: You look very unhappy. Pauli replied seriously: How can one look happy when he is thinking about the anomalous Zeeman effect?

spectral line split zeeman effect wolfgang pauli physics

Pieter Zeeman discovered in 1896 the splitting of a spectral line into several components in the presence of a static magnetic field. For this discovery, he was awarded Nobel Prize in 1902.

On knowledge

Wolfgang Pauli was of the belief that there is no limit to knowledge. However, as one goes deeply into learning a subject, the ambiguity also increases, since every new answer might open the door to a hundred new questions.

Pauli said: "The best that most of us can hope to achieve in physics is simply to misunderstand at a deeper level." This means that at least we have reached a deeper level to be amazed and confused by the result, so it's worth something.

10 Albert Einstein Quotes To Succeed In Life

albert einstein quotes that will help you in life motivational

Apart from making groundbreaking discoveries in physics, Albert Einstein also played the role of a motivational guru quite often. So, following are 10 Einstein quotes that will change your life.

1. Everyone sits in the prison of his own ideas; he must burst it open, and that in his youth, and try to test his ideas on reality. [Meaning: Don't keep delaying what you really want to do. Try it out for who knows what is possible?]

2. Joy in looking and comprehending is nature's most beautiful gift. Never lose a holy curiosity for it has its own reason for existing. [Meaning: Every child is born curious. Keep your mind open to new adventures.]


3. Try to become not a man of success, but try rather to become a man of value. Because, only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile. [Meaning: Our relationships are just as important as goals.]

4. Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance you must keep moving. [Meaning: Enjoy the ride. Don't be afraid to fall.]


5. Don't think about why you question, simply don't stop questioning. Don't worry about what you can't answer, and don't try to explain what you can't know. [Meaning: Curiosity is a quality one must never let go of. Ask questions as they will lead you to life's answers.]


6. Blind obedience to authority is the greatest enemy of truth. [Meaning: Don't follow people blindly.]


7. The value of a college education is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think. [Meaning: Learn how to think, not what to think.]

8. I never think of the future. It comes soon enough. [Meaning: Live in the moment. Act now.]


9. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly. [Meaning: Break the mould you were born into.]


10. If A is success in life, then A = x + y + z. Work is x, play is y and z is keeping your mouth shut. [Meaning: Work hard. Play hard. Stay humble.]

10 Galileo Galilei Quotes To Succeed In Life

top 10 galileo quotes astronomy physics

Galileo played a major role in the scientific revolution during the Renaissance period. He was the first to discover the rings of Saturn. His work in physics helped Newton formulate the laws of motion. Here is a list of some of his finest sayings:

1. I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use. (context: Galileo's trial by The Church)

2. The book of the universe is written in a mathematical language, without whose help it is impossible to comprehend a single word of it; without which one wanders in vain through a dark labyrinth.


3. The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.

4. My dear Kepler, what would you say of the learned here, who have steadfastly refused to cast a glance through the telescope? What shall we make of this? Shall we laugh, or shall we cry? (In a 1610 letter, Galileo's trial)

5. Nature is inexorable and immutable; she never transgresses the laws imposed upon her, or cares a whit whether her abstruse reasons and methods of operation are understandable to men.

6. In the long run my observations have convinced me that most men, reasoning preposterously, first establish some conclusion in their minds which, either because of its being their own or because of their having received it from some person who has their entire confidence, impresses them so deeply that one finds it impossible ever to get it out of their heads.


7. In questions of science the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.

8. I have been in my bed for five weeks, oppressed with weakness and other infirmities from which my age, seventy four years, permits me not to hope release. Added to this, the sight of my right eye — that eye whose labors (dare I say it) have had such glorious results — is for ever lost. That of the left, which was and is imperfect, is rendered null by continual weeping. [context: His house arrest after the trial; Galileo became partially blind by looking at the Sun through his telescope]

9. Light held together by moisture. (his description of wine)

10. You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him to find it within himself.

10 Carl Sagan Quotes On Science And Life

Top 10 Relevant Carl Sagan Quotes To Modern Life

Carl Sagan was the man who brought astronomy into our living rooms with his masterpiece, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which was viewed by over 500 million people around the world!

As a scientist, he contributed enormously to our understanding of the solar system. He correctly predicted the existence of methane lakes on Saturn's largest moon, Titan. When other astronomers had imagined Venus to be a mild summery paradise, Carl showed it to be dry, thick and unpleasantly hot.


He also predicted life on Venus in 1967 and we may be close to proving him right. Not just it, Carl Sagan played a leading role in every major spacecraft mission to explore the solar system in the 20th century: Mariner, Viking, Voyager, you name it!

Although Carl died quite young (had he been alive, he'd be celebrating his 86th birthday in 2020), his ideas and thoughts will remain with us for-ever. Let us have a look at 10 Carl Sagan quotes which are relevant to modern times, shall we?

On climate change


goa protest environment climate change carl sagan quotes
Protest in Goa

Carl says: Our intelligence and our technology have given us the power to affect the climate. How will we use this power? Are we willing to tolerate ignorance and complacency in matters that affect the entire human family? Do we value short-term advantages above the welfare of the Earth? Or will we think on longer time scales, with concern for our children and our grandchildren, to understand and protect the complex life-support systems of our planet? The Earth is a tiny and fragile world. It needs to be cherished.

On life elsewhere


All my life, I've wondered about life beyond the earth. On those countless other planets that we think circle other suns, is there also life? Might the beings of other worlds resemble us, or would they be astonishingly different? What would they be made of? In the vast Milky Way galaxy, how common is what we call life? The nature of life on earth and the quest for life elsewhere are the two sides of the same question: the search for who we are.

On science and politics


We can’t just conclude that science puts too much power into the hands of morally feeble technologists or corrupt, power-crazed politicians and decide to get rid of it. Advances in medicine and agriculture have saved more lives than have been lost in all the wars in history. Advances in transportation, communication, and entertainment have transformed the world. The sword of science is double-edged.

Ten Greatest Carl Sagan Quotes Relevant To Modern Times

On afterlife

He says: I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking.


The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there's little good evidence. Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.

On cannabis


The cannabis experience has greatly improved my appreciation for art, a subject which I had never much appreciated before. The understanding of the intent of the artist which I can achieve when high sometimes carries over to when I'm down. This is one of many human frontiers which cannabis has helped me traverse. There also have been some art-related insights — I don't know whether they are true or false, but they were fun to formulate.

On experiment


Our perceptions may be distorted by training and prejudice or merely because of the limitations of our sense organs, which, of course, perceive directly but a small fraction of the phenomena of the world.

Even so straightforward a question as whether in the absence of friction a pound of lead falls faster than a gram of fluff was answered incorrectly by Aristotle and almost everyone else before the time of Galileo.

Science is based on experiment, on a willingness to challenge old dogma, on an openness to see the universe as it really is. Accordingly, science sometimes requires courage—at the very least the courage to question the conventional wisdom.

On god


The idea that a God or gods is necessary to effect one or more of these origins has been under repeated attack over the last few thousand years. Because we know something about phototropism and plant hormones, we can understand the opening of the morning glory independent of divine micro-intervention. It is the same for the entire skein of causality back to the origin of the universe. As we learn more and more about the universe, there seems less and less for God to do.

ten powerful carl sagan quotes that will make you cry
Recommended science documentaries

On our place in the cosmos


We are the local embodiment of a Cosmos grown to self-awareness. We have begun to contemplate our origins: starstuff pondering the stars; organized assemblages of ten billion billion billion atoms considering the evolution of atoms; tracing the long journey by which, here at least, consciousness arose. Our loyalties are to the species and the planet. We speak for Earth. Our obligation to survive is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring.

On the future

I worry that, especially as the Millennium edges nearer, pseudo-science and superstition will seem year by year more tempting, the siren song of unreason more sonorous and attractive. Where have we heard it before? Whenever our ethnic or national prejudices are aroused, in times of scarcity, during challenges to national self-esteem or nerve, when we agonize about our diminished cosmic place and purpose, or when fanaticism is bubbling up around us-then, habits of thought familiar from ages past reach for the controls. The candle flame gutters. Its little pool of light trembles. Darkness gathers. The demons begin to stir.

On books


The whole idea of what happens when you read a book, I find absolutely stunning. Here's some product of a tree, little black squiggles on it, you open it up, an inside your head is the voice of someone speaking, who may have been dead 3000 years, and there he is talking directly to you, what a magical thing that is.
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