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To explain all Nature is too difficult a task for any one man or even for any one Age. ’Tis much better to do a little with certainty and leave the rest for others that come after you than to explain all things by conjecture without making sure of any thing. Isaac Newton
It was almost as incredible as if you fired a 15-inch shell at a piece of tissue paper and it came back and hit you. Ernest Rutherford, experiment in which one in eight thousand alpha particles scattered backwards when fired at a metal sheet of foil, cited E N da C Andrada ‘Rutherford and the Nature of the Atom’ 1964
If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment. Ernest Rutherford
The more precise the measurement of position, the more imprecise the measurement of momentum, and vice versa. Werner Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle
The solution of the difficulty is that the two mental pictures which experiment lead us to form – the one of the particles, the other of the waves – are both incomplete and have only the validity of analogies which are accurate only in limiting cases. Werner Heisenberg
If you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid – not only what you think is right about it; other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked – to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated. Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. Richard Feynman
If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. Richard Feynman
It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong. Richard Feynman
Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature, and in such things as these, experiment is the best test of such consistency. Michael Faraday, diary 19th March 1849
The measurement problem ... An atom only appears in a particular place if you measure it. In other words an atom is spread out all over the place until a conscious observer decides to look at it. So the act of measurement or observation creates the entire universe. Professor Jim Al-Khalili, Atom: The Illusion of Reality, BBC 2008
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. Carl Sagan
In the 1920s physicist Niels Bohr found that Newton’s Laws break down at the atomic level. The replacement Quantum Theory ... showed that the electron orbiting the atomic nucleus doesn’t look like this at all. It’s more smudged out, more like a ripple or a wave. Horizon: The Anthropic Principle, BBC 1987
We have to record some kind of measurement to know where an electron is. In fact, until we decide to find out where the electron is by doing an experiment to observe it the electron as a material entity cannot be really said to exist. ibid.
That by our acts of observation we bring things into existence, at least in the realm of the very small, is supported by scientific experiment. ibid.
If we bring the tiny world of the Quantum to existence by our observations, do we need any other mechanism to account for the whole of reality? ibid.
We have a set of physical laws that we know from laboratory experiments work; we use these laws to formulate a theory; we use that theory to make predictions, then we compare and then we compare these predictions with observations. Professor Carlos Frenk, Horizon: Of Big Bangs, Stick Men and Galactic Holes, BBC 1991
Anything that you come up with has to be corroborated, not just by one measurement, one experiment, but by many different groups – that’s the essence of the scientific method – repeatability, rigour, accuracy and relevance. Professor Carlos Frenk, Horizon: Is Everything We Know About the Universe Wrong? BBC 2009
French engineers and scientists are building a great scientific machine. It’s a nuclear accelerator called the Vivitron. It’s cost £8 billion. And part of it has come from Britain. Horizon: An Expensive Theology, BBC 1992
They’re working with the nucleus of the magnesium atom. The magnesium atoms are accelerated down this huge tower ... The nuclei are fired into a target also of magnesium. ibid.
The funding was established by treaty. ibid.
The first Cyclotron was a giant of its day. ibid.
The collision creates a tiny fireball getting close to the Big Bang at the start of our universe. ibid.
Quarks: five have been detected. ibid.
Cern costs £350 million a year ... Cern is governed by international treaty. ibid.
Mrs Thatcher even visited Cern to enthuse over the experiments. ibid.
The particle physicists are asking for funds for the next stage of their research. ibid.
The Americans are planning an even bigger rival. Here in Texas they’ve started construction on the Superconducting Super Collider. ibid.
Welcome to the weird world of quantum reality: where nothing is quite what is seems ... A remarkable experiment that puts the very existence of reality into question: known to physicists as the Double Slit experiment it’s remarkable because it reveals two astonishing paradoxes about the nature of reality no-one can fully explain. Horizon: What is Reality? BBC 2011
Cavendish probed the secrets of Nature with brilliant insights and meticulous experiments. Genius of Britain II: A Roomful of Brilliant Minds, Channel 4 2012
Can we actually afford some of these huge science experiments? Dara O’Briain’s Science Club II
A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions – as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all. Friedrich Nietzsche
No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong. Albert Einstein
Ernest Rutherford who round about 1910 was the outstanding experimental physicist in the world. Rutherford was then at Manchester. And in 1911 he proposed a new model for the atom. Jacob Bronowski, The Ascent of Man 10/13: World Within World, BBC 1973
There is a body of information being used by government to control the way people think and act. And experiments are systematically designed to increase government’s knowledge about that. This is the most threatening part of being a citizen in a democracy. When your government can manipulate how you vote and how you think. You no longer live in the democracy. Alan Scheflin, Professor of Law, Santa Clara University
The Cold War – it is about a group of scientists who believe that they had found for the first time ever a way of controlling the human mind. They were convinced they had discovered how to change human memory. Adam Curtis, The Living Dead II: You Have Used Me As A Fish Long Enough, BBC 1995
Their certainty and optimism turned to paranoia. They found themselves in a strange world in which nothing could be trusted, not even their own memories. ibid.
Penfield invited a psychiatrist called Ewen Cameron to come and join him in Montreal. Cameron was fascinated by Penfield’s work. He believed that if it was possible to change memories, one could produce better, more rational human beings. ibid.
In a Gothic mansion overlooking Montreal: it was both a psychiatric clinic and a centre for research. His [Cameron’s] aim was to find ways of changing the memories in the minds of his mentally ill patients. ibid.
Memory became a weapon in a confrontation between Russia and America. ibid.
Cameron had begun a series of experiments to try and brainwash the memories in his patients. He called it psychic driving. ibid.
He [Cameron] had published a paper about his work called Brainwashing Canadian Style. ibid.
The CIA decided to fund Cameron’s experiments. They wanted to find a way of controlling human beings by reprogramming their memories. ibid.