Murray Gell-Mann quotes

  • Enthusiasm is followed by disappointment and even depression, and then by renewed enthusiasm.
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Depression #Disappointment #Enthusiasm

  • The chaos can act as a magnifier of quantum fluctuations so that they can produce sizable effects in the world around us. But we know that that can happen often
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #World #Chaos #Fluctuation

  • For me, the study of these laws is inseparable from a love of Nature in all its manifestations. The beauty of the basic laws of natural science, as revealed in the study of particles and of the cosmos, is allied to the litheness of a merganser diving in a pure Swedish lake, or the grace of a dolphin leaving shining trails at night in the Gulf of California.
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Science #Night #Law

  • What is especially striking and remarkable is that in fundamental physics, a beautiful or elegant theory is more likely to be right than a theory that is inelegant. A theory appears to be beautiful or elegant (or simple, if you prefer) when it can be expressed concisely in terms of mathematics we already have. Symmetry exhibits the simplicity. The Foundamental Law is such that the different skins of the onion resemble one another and therefore the math for one skin allows you to express beautifully and simply the phenomenon of the next skin.
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Beautiful #Math #Simple

  • Hugh Everett's work has been described by many people in terms of many worlds, the idea being that every one of the various alternative histories, branching histories, is assigned some sort of reality.
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Reality #Swag #Ideas

  • Planets are too dim to be detected with existing equipment, far away, except in these very special circumstances where they're seen by their gravitational effect
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Special #Far Away #Equipment

  • Our planet doesn't seem to be the result of anything very special
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Special #Planets #Results

  • If I have seen further than others, it is because I am surrounded by dwarfs.
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

  • In fact any experiment that measures a quantum effect is one in which the quantum effect is aligned with the behavior of some heavy, macroscopic object; that's how we measure it
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Facts #Behavior #Heavy

  • I think also of my colleagues in elementary particle theory in many lands, and feel that in some measure I am here as a representative of our small, informal, international fraternity.
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Thinking #Land #Fraternity

  • I have been interested in phenomena involving complexity, diversity and evolution since I was a young boy.
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Boys #Diversity #Evolution

  • Sometimes the probabilities are very close to certainties, but they're never really certainties
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Sometimes #Certainty #Probability

  • So the old Copenhagen interpretation needs to be generalized, needs to be replaced by something that can be used for the whole universe, and can be used also in cases where there is plenty of individuality and history
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Individuality #Needs #Interpretation

  • We are driven by the usual insatiable curiosity of the scientist, and our work is a delightful game
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Games #Curiosity #Usual

  • Modern education is like being taken to the world's greatest restaurant & being forced to eat the menu.
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Education #Taken #World

  • When you think you're listening to several conversations at once, they tell me, you may really simply be time sharing - that is, listening a little bit to this one, a little bit to that one
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Thinking #Listening #May

  • While many questions about quantum mechanics are still not fully resolved, there is no point in introducing needless mystification where in fact no problem exists. Yet a great deal of recent writing about quantum mechanics has done just that.
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Writing #Done #Facts

  • I thought of killing myself but soon decided that I could always try MIT and then kill myself later if it was that bad but that I couldn't commit suicide and then try MIT afterwards. The two operations, suicide and going to MIT, don't commute...
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Suicide #Two #Trying

  • Three principles - the conformability of nature to herself, the applicability of the criterion of simplicity, and the "unreasonable effectiveness" of certain parts of mathematics in describing physical reality - are thus consequences of the underlying law of the elementary particles and their interactions. Those three principles need not be assumed as separate metaphysical postulates. Instead, they are emergent properties of the fundamental laws of physics.
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Reality #Law #Effectiveness

  • Of course the word chaos is used in rather a vague sense by a lot of writers, but in physics it means a particular phenomenon, namely that in a nonlinear system the outcome is often indefinitely, arbitrarily sensitive to tiny changes in the initial condition
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Mean #Outcomes #Tiny

  • I am frequently astonished that it so often results in correct predictions of experimental results.
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Predictions #Results

  • But I don't actually adopt the point of view that our subjective impression of free will, which is a kind of indeterminacy behavior, comes from quantum mechanical indeterminacy.
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Views #Kind #Free Will

  • But when researchers at Bell Labs discovered that static tends to come from particular places in the sky, the whole field of radio astronomy opened up.
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Sky #Radio #Labs

  • If we look at the way the universe behaves, quantum mechanics gives us fundamental, unavoidable indeterminacy, so that alternative histories of the universe can be assigned probability.
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Giving #Alternatives #Looks

  • One thing that makes the adventure of working in our field particularly rewarding, especially in attempting to improve the theory, is that... a chief criterion for the selection of a correct hypothesis... seems to be the criterion of beauty, simplicity, or elegance.
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Adventure #Science #Simplicity

  • My colleagues in elementary particle theory in many lands [and I] are driven by the usual insatiable curiosity of the scientist, and our work is a delightful game. I am frequently astonished that it so often results in correct predictions of experimental results. How can it be that writing down a few simple and elegant formulae, like short poems governed by strict rules such as those of the sonnet or the waka, can predict universal regularities of Nature?
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Writing #Hard Work #Simple

  • Today the network of relationships linking the human race to itself and to the rest of the biosphere is so complex that all aspects affect all others to an extraordinary degree. Someone should be studying the whole system, however crudely that has to be done, because no gluing together of partial studies of a complex nonlinear system can give a good idea of the behavior of the whole.
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Garden #Race #Ideas

  • Both biological and cultural diversity are now severely threatened and working for their preservation is a critical task.
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Diversity #Tasks #Preservation

  • Perhaps we see equations as simple because they are easily expressed in terms of mathematical notation already invented at an earlier stage of development of the science, and thus what appears to us as elegance of description really reflects the interconnectedness of Nature's laws at different levels.
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Nature #Simple #Law

  • The mathematics clearly called for a set of underlying elementary objects-at that time we needed three types of them-elementary objects that could be combined three at a time in different ways to make all the heavy particles we knew. ... I needed a name for them and called them quarks, after the taunting cry of the gulls, "Three quarks for Muster mark," from Finnegan's Wake by the Irish writer James Joyce.
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Names #Three #Gulls

  • The world of the quark has everything to do with a jaguar circling in the night.
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Night #Jaguars #World

  • What is especially striking and remarkable is that in fundamental physics a beautiful or elegant theory is more likely to be right than a theory that is inelegant.
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Beautiful #Fundamentals #Physics

  • Just because things get a little dingy at the subatomic level doesn't mean all bets are off.
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Mean #Levels #Littles

  • If someone says that he can think or talk about quantum physics without becoming dizzy, that shows only that he has not understood anything whatever about it.
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Thinking #Dizzy #Becoming

  • Think how hard physics would be if particles could think
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Thinking #Would Be #Physics

  • The persistence of erroneous beliefs exacerbates the widespread anachronistic failure to recognize the urgent problems that face humanity on this planet.
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Faith #Persistence #Humanity

  • Niels Bohr brainwashed a whole generation of theorists into thinking that the job (interpreting quantum theory) was done 50 years ago.
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Jobs #Thinking #Years

  • Sustainability is living on nature's income rather than living on its capital.
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Income #Sustainability

  • You know, there was a time, just before I started to study physical science, when astronomers thought that systems such as we have here in the solar system required a rare triple collision of stars
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Stars #Study #Astronomers

  • I do not keep up with the details of particle physics.
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Details #Physics #Particles

  • As a theoretical physicist, I feel at once proud and humble at the thought of the illustrious figures that have preceded me here to receive the greatest of all honors in science, the Nobel prize.
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Humble #Honor #Proud

  • What I try to do in the book is to trace the chain of relationships running from elementary particles, fundamental building blocks of matter everywhere in the universe, such as quarks, all the way to complex entities, and in particular complex adaptive system like jaguars.
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Running #Block #Book

  • Modern language must be older than the cave paintings and cave engravings and cave sculptures and dance steps in the soft clay in the caves in Western Europe, in the Aurignacian Period some 35,000 years ago, or earlier. I can't believe they did all those things and didn't also have a modern language.
    -- Murray Gell-Mann

    #Motivation #Inspiration #Believe