William Crookes quotes

  • If you had come to me a hundred years ago, do you think I should have dreamed of the telephone? Why, even now I cannot understand it! I use it every day, I transact half my correspondence by means of it, but I don’t understand it. Thnk of that little stretched disk of iron at the end of a wire repeating in your ear not only sounds, but words-not only words, but all the most delicate and elusive inflections and nuances of tone which separate one human voice from another! Is not that something of a miracle?
    -- William Crookes

    #Mean #Thinking #Years

  • Which was first, Matter or Force? If we think on this question, we shall find that we are unable to conceive of matter without force, or force without matter. When God created the elements of which the earth is composed, He created certain wondrous forces, which are set free and become evident when matter acts on matter.
    -- William Crookes

    #Thinking #Matter #Firsts

  • [T]he rare earth elements perplex us in our researches, baffle us in our speculations, and haunt us in our very dreams. They stretch like an unknown sea before us mocking, mystifying and murmuring strange revelations and possibilities.
    -- William Crookes

    #Dream #Sea #Earth

  • Our alleged facts might be true in all kinds of ways without contradicting any truth already known. I will dwell now on only one possible line of explanation, not that I see any way of elucidating all the new phenomena I regard as genuine, but because it seems probable I may shed a light on some of those phenomena. All the phenomena of the universe are presumably in some way continuous; and certain facts, plucked as it were from the very heart of nature , are likely to be of use in our gradual discovery of facts which lie deeper still.
    -- William Crookes

    #Lying #Heart #Discovery

  • It can scarcely be denied that the fundamental phenomena which first led mankind into chemical inquiries are those of combustion.
    -- William Crookes

    #Fundamentals #Firsts #Inquiry

  • Most students of nature sooner or later pass through a process of writing off a large percentage of their supposed capital of knowledge as a merely illusory asset. As we trace more accurately certain familiar sequences of phenomena we begin to realize how closely these sequences, or laws , as we call them, are hemmed round by still other laws of which we can form no notion. With myself this writing off of illusory assets has gone rather far and the cobweb of supposed knowledge has been pinched (as some one has phrased) into a particularly small pill.
    -- William Crookes

    #Writing #Law #Pills

  • England and all civilised nations stand in deadly peril of not having enough to eat. As mouths multiply, food resources dwindle. Land is a limited quantity, and the land that will grow wheat is absolutely dependent on difficult and capricious natural phenomena... I hope to point a way out of the colossal dilemma. It is the chemist who must come to the rescue of the threatened communities. It is through the laboratory that starvation may ultimately be turned into plenty... The fixation of atmospheric nitrogen is one of the great discoveries, awaiting the genius of chemists.
    -- William Crookes

    #Food #Science #Discovery

  • Probably if half a kilogram [of radium] were in a bottle on that table it would kill us all. It would almost certainly destroy our sight and burn our skins to such an extent that we could not survive. The smallest bit placed on one's arm would produce a blister which it would need months to heal.
    -- William Crookes

    #Science #Sight #Skins

  • Probably our atomic weights merely represent a mean value around which the actual atomic weights of the atoms vary within certain narrow limits... when we say, the atomic weight of, for instance, calcium is 40, we really express the fact that, while the majority of calcium atoms have an actual atomic weight of 40, there are not but a few which are represented by 39 or 41, a less number by 38 or 42, and so on.
    -- William Crookes

    #Mean #Science #Numbers

  • The phenomena in these exhausted tubes reveal to physical science a new world-a world where matter may exist in a fourth state, where the corpuscular theory of light may be true, and where light does not always move in straight lines, but where we can never enter, and with which we must be content to observe and experiment from the outside.
    -- William Crookes

    #Moving #Science #Light

  • Chemists do not usually stutter. It would be very awkward if they did, seeing that they have at times to get out such words as methylethylamylophenylium.
    -- William Crookes

    #Awkward #Would Be #Chemist

  • ...Nature-the word that stands for the baffling mysteries of the Universe. Steadily, unflinchingly, we strive to pierce the inmost heart of Nature, from what she is to reconstruct what she has been, and to prophesy what she yet shall be. Veil after veil we have lifted, and her face grows more beautiful, august, and wonderful, with every barrier that is withdrawn.
    -- William Crookes

    #Beautiful #Nature #Heart

  • To stop short in any research that bids fair to widen the gates of knowledge, to recoil from fear of difficulty or adverse criticism, is to bring reproach on science. There is nothing for the investigator to do but go straight on, 'to explore up and down, inch by inch, with the taper his reason;' to follow the light wherever it may lead, even should it at times resemble a will-o'-the-wisp.
    -- William Crookes

    #Knowledge #Light #Criticism