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BromicAcid
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thumbup.gif posted on 5-5-2013 at 07:25
Your favorite chemistry quotes


There are plenty of chemistry related quotes on our forum in signatures and the like. However I cannot recall there being a thread where some of the best are rounded up and put on display. A Google search didn't find anything either. So, I figured I would show off a few chemistry quotes that I have:

These three are all from the first volume of Comprehensive Treatise on Inorganic and Theoretical Chemistry which opens with an interesting section on what chemistry really is and how far it has come:

"There is no need to argue if an experiment can be made."
- H. St. C. Deville

"One science only will one genius fit, so vast is art, so narrow human wit."
-Pope

"The purpose of pure science is to observe phenomena and to trace their laws; the purpose of art is to produce, modify, or destroy. Strictly speaking there is no such thing as applied science, for, the moment the attempt is made to apply, science passes into the realm of art."
- J.W. Mellor

These two were quoted by A. G. Lee in the opening of his 'Chemistry of Thallium' masterwork. Though not precisely related to chemistry, you can see the comparison he was trying to make:

"So now we can nail down these changeable humors and tell them to their faces what species and class they belong to. That is man's prerogative on earth: to call things by name and put them in a system. They cast down their eyes before him when he calls them by name, for to name is to command."
-Thomas Mann

"Wherever primitive man put up a word, he believed he had made a discovery. How utterly mistaken he really was! He had touched a problem, and while supposing he had solved it, he had created and obstacle to its solution. Now, with every new knowledge we stumble over flint-like and petrified words and, in so doing, break a leg sooner than a word."
-Nietzsche

These two are from 'The Green Flame' by Andrew Dequasie (I've shared them in other places on this forum before):

"Each job has hazards of its own. In general, we know that we can handle our own dog, no matter how apprehensive our neighbors may feel about the creature. On the other hand, we do hope that our neighbors will keep that vicious brute of theirs on a chain. I can report to you that boron fuels could have become a reasonably safe commercial product, but I expect that many of you will remain skeptical of that possibility."

"To this day, I probably would not understand what panic is if I had not experienced it in that moment. I remain forever fascinated by the sensation. Some part of my mind that I didn't know existed took immediate command. This part of the mind operates in what I regard as "blink think". It isn't necessarily right or logical, but it is incredibly fast and decisive. Because it is fast, other things that are happening swiftly seem almost to be happening in slow motion."

These are quotes I found somewhat randomly on the internet:

"Mediocre spirits demand of science the kind of certainty which it cannot give, a sort of religious satisfaction. Only the real, rare, true scientific minds can endure doubt, which is attached to all our knowledge."
-Sigmund Freud

"The problem with explosives is that if you screw up, you're not just history, but biology, geography and modern art as well."
-Found this somewhere on the internet but cannot find it again by searching the string.

Of course this is just scratching the surface, I'd love to see some of the other gems you've been holding onto.

[Edited on 5/5/2013 by BromicAcid]




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kristofvagyok
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[*] posted on 5-5-2013 at 07:35


Some quotes from Reddit's chemistry section:

Welcome to organic chemistry. Today we are going to dissolve a white, crystalline solid in a suitable solvent before reacting it with another white, crystalline solid. Extract in a non-polar solvent, then recrystallize to recover a white, crystalline solid.

Everything you learned about chemistry in school was either a) wrong, b) a crude approximation.

Conclusion: It looks like we have synthesized some water.

Slow crystal growth is put it on the shelf and forget about it.

How to synthetize a highly complex prochiral organic molecule from olefins? Add some palladium and pray.




I have a blog where I post my pictures from my work: http://labphoto.tumblr.com/
-Pictures from chemistry, check it out(:

"You can’t become a chemist and expect to live forever."
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Magpie
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[*] posted on 5-5-2013 at 10:17


I really love these aphorisms. I just offer a quick one that comes to mind but I will bring more as I find them.

"Slowly slowly catchee monkee" - Sauron

The above is good advice for difficult separations by fractional distillation.




The single most important condition for a successful synthesis is good mixing - Nicodem
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Vargouille
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[*] posted on 5-5-2013 at 13:18


"Nitric acid not only acts upon copper, but it acts upon fingers." - Ira Remsen
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solo
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[*] posted on 5-5-2013 at 14:41


.....experimenting in the lab results in answers and growth and knowledge....there is no such thing as a failed experiment....its part of learning.....solo



It's better to die on your feet, than live on your knees....Emiliano Zapata.
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phlogiston
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[*] posted on 6-5-2013 at 04:39


"A good detergent does not solve everything."
(From a friends/collegues thesis whose experimental difficulties were resolved once he discovered the right detergent to use)

regarding science in general:

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Albert Einstein

"The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny..."- Isaac Asimov

When one of my fellow students screamed in agony as she picked up a searing hot beaker someone placed on her bench, our lab assistent remarked dryly:
"Yes, hot glass looks the same as cold glass."
This quote was used many more times that year.

[Edited on 6-5-2013 by phlogiston]




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"If a rocket goes up, who cares where it comes down, that's not my concern said Wernher von Braun" - Tom Lehrer
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Eddygp
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[*] posted on 6-5-2013 at 07:41


"hot glass looks the same as cold glass." Yes. True. :(



there may be bugs in gfind

[ˌɛdidʒiˈpiː] IPA pronunciation for my Username
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KonkreteRocketry
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[*] posted on 6-5-2013 at 07:57


I want to say some good qoutes too but all the good ones Argon.
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[*] posted on 6-5-2013 at 08:25


Chemistry: The only science where you do the same thing twice and get three different results.



My YouTube Channel: ChemCamTV
IRC Channel: #sciencemadness @ irc.efnet.org
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Magpie
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[*] posted on 6-5-2013 at 09:50


Chemistry is a subtle science.

[Edited on 6-5-2013 by Magpie]




The single most important condition for a successful synthesis is good mixing - Nicodem
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franklyn
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[*] posted on 7-5-2013 at 08:35


" hot glass looks the same as cold glass."
( true in the visual spectrum and shorter wavelengths only )
______________________________

" The first time you study thermodynamics you do not understand it at all;
the second time, you think you do; the third time, you know you don't, but
by then you have become so familiar with it that it no longer bothers you."

This aphorism is attributed to Arnold Sommerfeld, a German physicist whose
teaching inspired a whole generation of European and American students,
including Heisenberg, and Linus Pauling.


" The way to have a good idea , is to have lots of ideas. "
- Linus Pauling


" It would be a mistake to suppose that a science consists entirely of proved theses,
and it would be unjust to require this. Only a disposition with a passion for authority
will raise such a demand - someone with a craving to replace his religious catechism
by another, though it is a scientific one. Science has only a few apodeictic propositions
in it's catechism: the rest are assertions promoted by it to some particular degree of
probability. It is actually a sign of a scientific mode of thought to find satisfaction in
these approximations to certainty and to be able to pursue constructive work in spite
of the of the absence of final confirmation."
- Sigmund Freud , Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis ( 3rd )

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BromicAcid
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[*] posted on 8-5-2013 at 13:22


Just because I've always been a fan of Davy:

“The true chemical philosopher sees good in all the diversified forms of the external world. Whilst he investigates the operations of infinite power, guided by infinite wisdom, all low prejudices, all mean superstitions, disappear from his mind. He sees man, an atom amidst atoms, fixed upon a point in space; and yet modifying the laws that are around him by understanding them; and gaining, as it were, a kind of dominion over time, and an empire in material space, and exerting on a scale infinitely small a power, seeming a sort of shadow or reflection of a creative energy, and which entitles him to the distinction of being made in the image of God and animated by a spark of the Divine Mind.”
Sir Humphry Davy




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chemrox
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[*] posted on 8-5-2013 at 15:11


"Organic chemists are people who like to cook!" -Sasha Shulgin in PiKHAL
"The only thing interesting about physics is chemistry,"- a chemistry professor whose name will not be revealed.




"When you let the dumbasses vote you end up with populism followed by autocracy and getting back is a bitch." Plato (sort of)
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Ozone
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[*] posted on 8-5-2013 at 19:03


If you're not part of the solution...You're the precipitate.



-Anyone who never made a mistake never tried anything new.
--Albert Einstein
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The_Davster
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[*] posted on 9-5-2013 at 02:44


Some of the jokes above are terrible. We should barium. :D
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[*] posted on 23-5-2013 at 11:16
Aphorisms on natural philosophy



Be who you are and say what you think,
because those who mind don't matter and
those who matter don't mind.

Always tell the truth. That way, you don't have to remember what you said.
-- Mark Twain

The one serious conviction that a man should have is that
nothing is to be taken too seriously.
-- Samuel Butler

The right to be heard does not include the right to be taken seriously.
-- Hubert Humphrey

Anyone can say the facts, but expressiing an opinion takes art.
-- Me

The most powerful passion in life is not love or hate ,
but the desire to edit someone else's words

I like to keep an open mind, but not so open my brains fall out.
-- Arthur Sulzberger, NY Times chairman

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice , there is.

We tend to meet every situation in life by reorganizing, and a wonderful method
it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency,
and demoralization.
-- Petronius, 100 AD

Technology is dominated by two types of people:
those who understand what they don't manage, and
those who manage what they don't understand.

Business is all about figuring how to profit from what you are able to sell
Bill Gates realized if he had a nickel for every time Windows crashed,
he'd be a multibillionaire.

Debugging is at least twice as hard as writing the program in the first place.
So if your code is as clever as you can possibly make it, then by definition
you're not smart enough to debug it.
-- Brian Kernighan

Any sufficiently well-rigged data set is indistinguishable from advanced prognostication .
This derives from the fact that ,
" If you put tomfoolery into a computer, nothing comes out but tomfoolery.
But this tomfoolery, having passed through a very expensive machine ,
is somehow ennobled and no one dares criticize it."
-- Pierre Gallois

To get your point across , a computer simulation is worth a thousand
peer reviewed journal citations.
-- Me

The hallmark of science is an experiment that can be repeated. The
hallmark of psuedo-science is a headline that can be repeated.

No science is immune to the infection of politics and the corruption of power.
-- Jacob Bronowski

- On the nature of motive
A developer is someone who wants to build a house in the woods.
An environmentalist is someone who already owns a house in the woods.
-- Dennis Miller

In times of change , the learners inherit the earth , the learned find themselves
beautifully equipped to understand a world which no longer exists.
-- Eric Hoffer

In the 60's people took LSD to make the world weird.
Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.

A committee is a group of people who individually can do nothing
and as a group decide that nothing can be done.
-- Fred Allen

If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend 6 of them sharpening my axe.
-- Abraham Lincoln
This became formalized as Parkinson's Law in 1955
" Work expands to fill the time alloted for its completion "

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.
Do not look directly into laser beam with remaining eye.

Quotation attributed to " Edward Teller "
"It's impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious"

On Fermats 'Last Theorem'
Any fool can ask a question that the wisest of men cannot answer.
But it takes a genius to ask a question that will keep them thinking.
-- Me

Knowledge grows linearly, ignorance exponentially

Development is when you know the answer, but not how to get there.
Applied research is when you know the question, but not the answer.
Pure research is when you don't know the question.
-- Nick MacLaren

.
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amazingchemistry
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[*] posted on 23-5-2013 at 18:47


I'm surprise no one has quoted these before:

Lowe's Laws of the Lab

"A good undergraduate will double your workload, a bad undergraduate will take out a wall"
[in multistep organic syntheses] "You can never have too much starting material"
"Think twice before you get rid of the old route, or you'll spend months 'saving time'"

There are others, but I can't find them at present :)
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IrC
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[*] posted on 23-5-2013 at 19:37


Johnny was a chemist but one He is no more.
For what He thought was H2O was H2SO4.




"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" Richard Feynman
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phlogiston
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[*] posted on 3-6-2013 at 23:06


It ain't what a man don't know that makes him a fool; it's the things he does know, that ain't so. - Henry Wheeler Shaw



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"If a rocket goes up, who cares where it comes down, that's not my concern said Wernher von Braun" - Tom Lehrer
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[*] posted on 13-6-2013 at 02:47


Walter - "...But one particular element comes to mind..." *hinty face*
Jesse - "Ahhhh."
Walter - "Ohhhhh."
*Walter holds up strip of Copper"
Harmoniously - "Ahhhh. Yes"
Jesse - "Mhhmmm. Wire."




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Morgan
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[*] posted on 13-6-2013 at 06:15


A cautionary quote.

“I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.”

― Leo Tolstoy
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cyanureeves
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[*] posted on 17-3-2014 at 18:42


" To make war upon Marchand (or any one else for that matter) is of no use. You merely consume yourself, get angry, and ruin your liver and your nerves --- finally with Morrison's Pills. Imagine yourself in the year 1900, when we shall both be decomposed again into carbonic acid, water, and ammonia, and the lime of our bones belongs to the dog who then dishonors our grave. Who then will care whether we lived in peace or in strife? Who then will care anything about your scientific controversies --- of your sacrifices of health and peace for science? No one: but your good ideas, the new facts you have discovered, these, purified from all that is unessential, will be know and recognized in the remotest times. But how do I come to counsel the lion to eat the sugar!"Wohler to Liebig.
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