John Burdon Sanderson Haldane

1892 - 1964

A Quote by John Burdon Sanderson Haldane on adoption, change, concern, facts, judgment, kindness, laws, lies, painting, poetry, science, simplicity, theory, thought, and world

In scientific thought we adopt the simplest theory which will explain all the facts under consideration and enable us to predict new facts of the same kind. The catch in this criterion lies in the world "simplest." It is really an aesthetic canon such as we find implicit in our criticisms of poetry or painting. The layman finds such a law as dx/dt = K(d^2x/dy^2) much less simple than "it oozes," of which it is the mathematical statement. The physicist reverses this judgment, and his statement is certainly the more fruitful of the two, so far as prediction is concerned. It is, however, a statement about something very unfamiliar to the plain man, namely, the rate of change of a rate of change.

John Burdon Sanderson Haldane (1892 - 1964)

Source: Possible Worlds, 1927.

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by John Burdon Sanderson Haldane on doubt, future, imagination, reality, suspicion, and universe

I have no doubt that in reality the future will be vastly more surprising than anything I can imagine. Now my own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.

John Burdon Sanderson Haldane (1892 - 1964)

Source: Possible Worlds and Other Papers

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by John Burdon Sanderson Haldane on environment, failure, improvement, and success

We do not know, in most cases, how far social failure and success are due to heredity, and how far to environment. But environment is the easier of the two to improve.

John Burdon Sanderson Haldane (1892 - 1964)

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by John Burdon Sanderson Haldane on motivation

I have come to the conclusion that my subjective account of my motivation is largely mythical on almost all occasions. I don't know why I do things.

John Burdon Sanderson Haldane (1892 - 1964)

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by John Burdon Sanderson Haldane on belief, destruction, physics, and time

A time will however come (as I believe) when physiology will invade and destroy mathematical physics, as the latter has destroyed geometry.

John Burdon Sanderson Haldane (1892 - 1964)

Source: Daedalus, or Science and the Future, London: Kegan Paul, 1923.

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by John Burdon Sanderson Haldane on ideas and responsibility

So many new ideas are at first strange and horrible though ultimately valuable that a very heavy responsibility rests upon those who would prevent their dissemination.

John Burdon Sanderson Haldane (1892 - 1964)

Contributed by: Zaady

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