19th-century Scientist Quotes
The phenomenon of the production of motion by heat has not been considered in a sufficiently general way... It is necessary to establish proofs applicable not only to steam engines but to all other heat-engines, irrespective of the working substance and the manner in which it acts.
At the moment I am occupied by an investigation with Kirchhoff which does not allow us to sleep. Kirchhoff has made a totally unexpected discovery, inasmuch as he has found out the cause for the dark lines in the solar spectrum and can produce these lines artificially intensified both in the solar spectrum...
There is no more elevating spectacle than to contemplate the sky with its thousands of stars on a clear night. When we send our thoughts to those lights glittering in infinite distance, the question forces itself upon us, whether there are not out there planets like our own that will sustain organic life.
No one can predict how far we shall be enabled by means of our limited intelligence to penetrate into the mysteries of a universe immeasurably vast and wonderful; nevertheless, each step in advance is certain to bring new blessings to humanity and new inspiration to greater endeavor.
Scientists are in fact imaginers and artists; they are not free with their ideas; they can work well and hard only at what their thinking accepts and what their feelings are drawn to. Ideas alternate; impossible and often mad ones appear; they swarm and whirl, fuse and sparkle. Scientists live among these ideas and work for them.
The highest object to which the natural sciences are constrained to aim, but which they will never reach, is the determination of the forces, which are present in nature, and of the state of matter at any given moment - that is, the reduction of all the phenomena of nature to mechanics.