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The dramatic advances of the past few decades have led to the discovery of DNA, and to the decipherment of the universal hereditary code, the age-old language of the living cell. And with this understanding will come the control of processes that have known only the mindless discipline of natural selection for two billion years … We will surely come to the time when man will have the power to alter specifically and consciously his very genes. This will be a new event in the universe. The prospect is to me awesome in its potential for deliverance or equally for disaster. Robert Sincheimer, California Institue of Technology 1966, cited Storyville: The Gene Revolution: Changing Human Nature, BBC 2020
Only about a third of our sample knew that antibiotics, one of the most important classes of drugs, don’t kill viruses; they only kill bacteria. Only about a third knew the Earth goes round the Sun once a year. And less than a half actually in 1988 were able to say that DNA is a substance that has to do with living things. John Durant, Imperial College, study of British attitudes to science
The importance of a scientific work can be measured by the number of previous publications it makes it superfluous to read. David Hilbert, attributed, cited Howard Whitley Eves, Mathematical Circles Revisited, 1971
Science can answer the How questions. But what about the Why question? Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Science has lost its virgin purity, has become dogmatic instead of seeking for enlightenment and has gradually fallen into the hands of the traders. Robert Graves
Science appears but what in truth she is,
Not as our glory and our absolute boast,
But as a succedaneum, and a prop
To our infirmity. William Wordsworth, The Prelude, 1850
Our meddling intellect
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things: –
We murder to dissect.
Enough of science and of art;
Close up these barren leaves. William Wordsworth, The Tables Turned, 1798
Boyle’s List: all but two of twenty-four things on this list have now been achieved by science. Science has bestowed upon him powers which may almost be called creative. Humphry Davy, Chemistry: A Course of Lectures
Nothing is so fatal to the progress of the human mind as to suppose that our views of science are ultimate; that there are no mysteries in nature, that our triumphs are complete, and that there are no new worlds to conquer. Humphry Davy, cited David Knight 1998 ‘Humphry Davy: Science and Power’
Fortunately science, like that nature to which it belongs, is neither limited by time nor by space. It belongs to the world, and is of no country and of no age. The more we know, the more we feel our ignorance; the more we feel how much remains unknown; and in philosophy, the sentiment of the Macedonian hero can never apply, – there are always new worlds to conquer. Humphry Davy, Royal Society discourse 30th November 1925
Letters: Climate Change and the Integrity of Science: We are deeply disturbed by the recent escalation of political assaults on scientists in general, and on Climate Scientists in particular ... We also call for an end to McCarthy-like threats of criminal prosecution against our colleagues based on innuendo and guilt by association, the harassment of scientists by politicians seeking distractions to avoid taking action, and the outright lies being spread about them. Science Magazine 7th May 2010, open letter from 255 Members of the National Academy of Sciences
Science moves, but slowly slowly, creeping on from point to point. Alfred Lord Tennyson, Locksley Hall
Science changed everything. Genius of Britain: The Scientists Who Changed the World, Stephen Hawking, Channel 4 2012
Britain has a tremendous scientific legacy that most people know little about. ibid.
Wren wanted to know more; he wanted to know not just form but function ... He wanted to know everything. ibid. David Attenborough
Working within the newly formed Royal Society was a young man from a very different society and his name was Robert Hooke. ibid. Richard Dawkins
In 1665 he [Hooke] published his masterpiece: Micrographia. ibid.
He [Boyle] wanted to find out what air actually was. ibid. James Dyson
Boyle’s air pump was a huge turning point: it demonstrated that there was an invisible world all around us whose laws we could understand through experiment and reason. ibid. Stephen Hawking
Newton spent much of his time absorbed by alchemy. ibid. Jim Al-Khalili
He [Newton] wondered what light might be made of and wanted to know how vision worked. ibid.
The natural world he [Newton] began to realise might unfold from simple rules and patterns. Perhaps Mathematics was at the centre of every question he asked. ibid.
Wren, Hooke and Boyle were all asking the same questions: Were the heavens governed by mathematical laws and could they discover them? ibid. Stephen Hawking
Isaac Newton was becoming an increasingly eccentric figure. ibid. Jim Al-Khalili
Hooke had spurned the one man with the mathematical talents to help him understand the laws of the universe. ibid.
St Helena was [Edmond] Halley’s bid to join the big boys. ibid. Kathy Sykes
[Edmond] Halley flattered, cajoled and chastised Newton in turns. ibid.
The greatest book ever written in history ... Principia Mathematica. ibid. Jim Al-Khalili
The Principia spelled out for the first time the mathematical principles that governed the universe. And the law of gravity that holds all matter in place. ibid.
Together in the seventeenth century they summoned science into being. ibid. Stephen Hawking
Sir Joseph Banks, gentleman amateur naturalist ... He arranged to join Captain Cook. Genius of Britain II: A Roomful of Brilliant Minds, David Attenborough
The Endeavour set sail from Plymouth on 25th August 1768 bound for the South Pacific and immortality. It would be three years before Banks would see England again. ibid.
The man who discovered how to power the world ... was James Watt, and his steam engine was to drive the industrial revolution. ibid. James Dyson
The answer was to cool and condense the steam in a separate chamber outside the main cylinder. ibid.
Watt’s monsters throbbed day and night. ibid.
James Watt’s invention changed the world ... This was the start of the Industrial Revolution. ibid.