PierreSimon Laplace quotes

“All the effects of Nature are only the mathematical consequences of a small number of immutable laws.”
 PierreSimon Laplace 
“Probability theory is nothing but common sense reduced to calculation.”
 PierreSimon LaplaceSource : "Théorie Analytique Des Probabilités". Book by PierreSimon Laplace, second edition, 1814.

“If an event can be produced by a number n of different causes, the probabilities of the existence of these causes, given the event (prises de l'Ã©vÃ©nement), are to each other as the probabilities of the event, given the causes: and the probability of each cause is equal to the probability of the event, given that cause, divided by the sum of all the probabilities of the event, given each of the causes.”
 PierreSimon Laplace 
“The simplicity of nature is not to be measured by that of our conceptions. Infinitely varied in its effects, nature is simple only in its causes, and its economy consists in producing a great number of phenomena, often very complicated, by means of a small number of general laws.”
 PierreSimon Laplace 

“Do you believe in god? I have no need for that hypothesis, he may be around though.”
 PierreSimon Laplace 
“Nature laughs at the difficulties of integration.”
 PierreSimon LaplaceSource : "The Armchair Science Reader". Book by Isabel S. Gordon and Sophie Sorkin, 1959.

“However, the small probability of a similar encounter [of the earth with a comet], can become very great in adding up over a huge sequence of centuries. It is easy to picture to oneself the effects of this impact upon the Earth. The axis and the motion of rotation changed; the seas abandoning their old position to throw themselves toward the new equator; a large part of men and animals drowned in this universal deluge, or destroyed by the violent tremor imparted to the terrestrial globe.”
 PierreSimon Laplace 
“We are so far from knowing all the forces of nature and their various modes of action that it would be unworthy of the philosopher to deny phenomena simply because they are inexplicable at the present state of our knowledge. The more difficult it is to acknowledge their existence, the greater the care with which we must study these phenomena.”
 PierreSimon Laplace 

“The weight of evidence for an extraordinary claim must be proportioned to its strangeness.”
 PierreSimon LaplaceSource : "Theeorie analytique des probabilites". Book by PierreSimon Laplace, 1812.

“The most important questions of life are indeed, for the most part, really only problems of probability.”
 PierreSimon Laplace 
“It is interesting thus to follow the intellectual truths of analysis in the phenomena of nature. This correspondence, of which the system of the world will offer us numerous examples, makes one of the greatest charms attached to mathematical speculations.”
 PierreSimon Laplace 
“The mind has its illusions as the sense of sight; and in the same manner that the sense of feeling corrects the latter, reflection and calculation correct the former.”
 PierreSimon Laplace 

“Given for one instant an intelligence which could comprehend all the forces by which nature is animated and the respective positions of the beings which compose it, if moreover this intelligence were vast enough to submit these data to analysis, it would embrace in the same formula both the movements of the largest bodies in the universe and those of the lightest atom; to it nothing would be uncertain, and the future as the past would be present to its eye.”
 PierreSimon LaplaceSource : Oeuvres vol. 7, introduction (1812  1820)

“[Science] dissipates errors born of ignorance about our true relations with nature, errors the more damaging in that the social order should rest only on those relations. TRUTH! JUSTICE! Those are the immutable laws. Let us banish the dangerous maxim that it is sometimes useful to depart from them and to deceive or enslave mankind to assure its happiness.”
 PierreSimon Laplace 
“Je n'avais pas besoin de cette hypothÃ¨selÃ .”
 PierreSimon Laplace 
“Napoleon: You have written this huge book on the system of the world without once mentioning the author of the universe. Laplace: Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis. Later when told by Napoleon about the incident, Lagrange commented: Ah, but that is a fine hypothesis. It explains so many things.”
 PierreSimon Laplace 

“His last words, according to De Morgan: Man follows only phantoms.”
 PierreSimon Laplace 
“To Napoleon on why his works on celestial mechanics make no mention of God: Your Highness, I have no need of this hypothesis.”
 PierreSimon Laplace 
“The telescope sweeps the sky without finding God.”
 PierreSimon Laplace 

“Ce que nous connaissons est peu de chose; ce que nous ignorons est immense. What we know is not much. What we do not know is immense.”
 PierreSimon LaplaceSource : "Budget of Paradoxes". Book by Augustus De Morgan, 1866.

“The theory of probabilities is at bottom nothing but common sense reduced to calculus; it enables us to appreciate with exactness that which accurate minds feel with a sort of instinct for which of times they are unable to account.”
 PierreSimon LaplaceSource : PierreSimon Laplace (2012). “PierreSimon Laplace Philosophical Essay on Probabilities: Translated from the fifth French edition of 1825 With Notes by the Translator”, p.124, Springer Science & Business Media

“I see with much pleasure that you are working on a large work on the integral Calculus [ ... ] The reconciliation of the methods which you are planning to make, serves to clarify them mutually, and what they have in common contains very often their true metaphysics; this is why that metaphysics is almost the last thing that one discovers. The spirit arrives at the results as if by instinct; it is only on reflecting upon the route that it and others have followed that it succeeds in generalising the methods and in discovering its metaphysics.”
 PierreSimon LaplaceSource : "Convolutions in French Mathematics, 18001840:From the Calculus and Mechanics to Mathematical Analysis and Mathematical Physics. Vol.1: The Setting". Book by GrattanGuinness, p. 139, July 1, 1990.

“Such is the advantage of a well constructed language that its simplified notation often becomes the source of profound theories.”
 PierreSimon Laplace 

“The theory of probabilities is basically only common sense reduced to a calculus. It makes one estimate accurately what rightminded people feel by a sort of instinct, often without being able to give a reason for it.”
 PierreSimon Laplace 
“Without any doubt, the regularity which astronomy shows us in the movements of the comets takes place in all phenomena. The trajectory of a simple molecule of air or vapour is regulated in a manner as certain as that of the planetary orbits; the only difference between them is that which is contributed by our ignorance. Probability is relative in part to this ignorance, and in part to our knowledge.”
 PierreSimon LaplaceSource : PierreSimon Laplace (2012). “PierreSimon Laplace Philosophical Essay on Probabilities: Translated from the fifth French edition of 1825 With Notes by the Translator”, p.3, Springer Science & Business Media

“[It] may be laid down as a general rule that, if the result of a long series of precise observations approximates a simple relation so closely that the remaining difference is undetectable by observation and may be attributed to the errors to which they are liable, then this relation is probably that of nature.”
 PierreSimon Laplace 
“The word 'chance' then expresses only our ignorance of the causes of the phenomena that we observe to occur and to succeed one another in no apparent order. Probability is relative in part to this ignorance, and in part to our knowledge.”
 PierreSimon Laplace 

“Your Highness, I have no need of this hypothesis.”
 PierreSimon Laplace 
“What we know is not much. What we don't know is enormous.”
 PierreSimon Laplace 
“It is India that gave us the ingenious method of expressing all numbers by means of ten symbols, each symbol receiving a value of position as well as an absolute value; a profound and important idea which appears so simple to us now that we ignore its true merit. But its very simplicity and the great ease which it has lent to computations put our arithmetic in the first rank of useful inventions; and we shall appreciate the grandeur of the achievement the more when we remember that it escaped the genius of Archimedes and Apollonius, two of the greatest men produced by antiquity.”
 PierreSimon LaplaceSource : "Return to Mathematical Circles". Book by Howard Eves, 1988.

“I have no need for that hypothesis.”
 PierreSimon Laplace 

“"Read Euler: he is our master in everything."”
 PierreSimon Laplace 
“Said about Napier's logarithms: . . . by shortening the labors doubled the life of the astronomer.”
 PierreSimon Laplace
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