20th-century Astronomer Quotes
The wastage of the skills and talents of our capable young scientists is a disgrace to the world. The resources exist to put them all to work doing constructive things. Instead of that the substance of the earth is expanded on frivolities, on all kinds of power wasting devices and gas guzzling cars. Worst of all is the expenditure of technical expertise, energy and money on the arms race. Despite the wherewithal to wipe man off the face of the earth, ten times over, there is clamor to squander even more.
Newton's own motto, "hypotheses non fingo" was, in a sense, disregarded by Newton himself: he rejected hypotheses only where they violated his own "regula philosophandi", that is to say, his principle of their strict parsimony. In terms of present-day methodology, we reject hypotheses as scientifically meaningless if they are incapable even of indirect test; and we reject them as superfluous or as implausible if they are too complex and artificial to conform with well established canons of inductive probability. But freedom of scientific theorizing must be preserved wherever the conditions of meaningfulness and of economy appear to be satisfied.
I have long believed that an experimentalist should not be unduely inhibited by theoretical untidyness. If he insists in having every last theoretical T crossed before he starts his research the chances are that he will never do a significant experiment. And the more significant and fundamental the experiment the more theoretical uncertainty may be tolerated. By contrast, the more important and difficult the experiment the more that experimental care is warranted. There is no point in attempting a half-hearted experiment with an inadequate apparatus.
We have to beef up our searches, which are now pretty dismal, so we can find out about these things before we get hit. … It takes a dramatic event to get people's attention, and we thought the comet crash with Jupiter might have done the job. … we tend to ignore an extraterrestrial hazard that could reduce the planet to rubble. … What we really need is a good scare.