Nothing is less predictable than the development of an active scientific field.

— Charles Francis Richter

The most scandalous Charles Francis Richter quotes that are free to learn and impress others

As seismologists gained more experience from earthquake records, it became obvious that the problem could not be reduced to a single peak acceleration. In fact, a full frequency of vibrations occurs.

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Only fools, liars, and charlatans predict earthquakes

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I have a sense of humor; but over the years that sense has developed one blind spot. I can no longer laugh at ignorance or stupidity. Those are our chief enemies, and it is dangerous to make fun of them.

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Refining is inevitable in science when you have made measurements of a phenomenon for a long period of time.

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I was lucky because logarithmic plots are a device of the devil.

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Most loss of life and property has been due to the collapse of antiquated and unsafe structures, mostly of brick and other masonry. ... There is progress of California toward building new construction according to earthquake-resistant design. We would have less reason to ask for earthquake prediction if this was universal.

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Remembrance is the only paradise out of which we cannot be driven away.

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In every area of the world where there is earthquake risk, there are still many buildings of this type; it is very frustrating to try to get rid of them.

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Lately there have been complaints that the use of the magnitude scale is confusing, or at least the reporting of magnitudes in the newspapers 'confuses the public.

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There is nothing more beautiful than cheerfulness in an old face, and among country people it is always a sign of a well-regulated life.

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If the assumptions used in calculating energy are changed, then this seriously affects the final result, even though the same body of data might be used.

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[In plotting earthquake measurements] the range between the largest and smallest magnitudes seemed unmanageably large. Dr. Beno Gutenberg then made the natural suggestion to plot the amplitudes logarithmically.

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About Charles Francis Richter

Quotes 39 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Scientist
Birthday October 16

I usually point out that most loss of life and property has been due to the collapse of antiquated and unsafe structures, mostly of brick and other masonry.

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My amateur interest in astronomy brought out the term 'magnitude,' which is used for the brightness of a star.

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No joy in nature is so sublimely affecting as the joy of a mother at the good fortune of a child.

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Spring makes everything young again except man.

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By moving them vertically, a representative mean curve could be formed, and individual events were then characterized by individual logarithmic differences from the standard curve.

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I repeatedly have to correct this belief.

In a sense, magnitude involves steps of 10 because every increase of one magnitude represents a tenfold amplification of the ground motion. But there is no 'scale of 10' in the sense of an upper limit.

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I'm glad to see the press now referring to the open-ended Richter scale.

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Logarithmic plots are a device of the devil.

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Intensity like signal strength will generally fall off with distance from the source, although it also depends on the local conditions and the pathway from the source to the point.

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My main point today is that usually one gets what one expects, but very rarely in the way one expected it.

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Don't wait for extraordinary circumstance to do good; try to use ordinary situations.

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There is another common misapprehension that the magnitude scale is itself some kind of instrument or apparatus. Visitors will frequently ask to 'see the scale.'

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The rose does not bloom without thorns. True, but would that the thorns did not outlive the rose.

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For example, some stars put out large amounts of energy in the infrared part of the spectrum, so that this can produce a different relative magnitude rating than using light energy from the middle of the spectrum.

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We would have been happy if we could have assigned just three categories, large, medium, and small; the point is, we wanted to avoid personal judgments. It actually turned out to be quite a finely tuned scale.

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It is a common remark that men talk most who think least;

just as frogs cease their quacking when a light is brought to the water-side.

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According to Democritus, truth lies at the bottom of a well, the water of which serves as a mirror in which objects may be reflected. I have heard, however, that some philosophers, in seeking for truth, to pay homage to her, have seen their own image and adored it instead.

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Emphasis was usually put on the horizontal acceleration factor, for the simple reason that ordinary structures have a built-in safety factor for the vertical component; that is, gravity.

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I suggested that we might compare earthquakes in terms of the measured amplitudes recorded at these stations, with an appropriate correction for distance.

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it is good to have measured myself, to recognize my limitations.

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If one introduces the concept of energy of an earthquake then that is a theoretically derived quantity.

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What emerged, of course, was that the magnitude scale presupposed that all earthquakes were alike except for a constant scaling factor. And this proved to be closer to the truth than we expected.

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From here, it becomes an engineering problem;

the engineer considers the ground motion that will occur and evaluates the requirements of the proposed structure in the light of the local foundation conditions.

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Incidentally, the usual designation of the magnitude scale to my name does less than justice to the great part that Dr. Gutenberg played in extending the scale to apply to earthquakes in all parts of the world.

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The laboratory routine, which involves a great deal of measurement, filing, and tabulation, is either my lifeline or my chief handicap, I hardly know which.

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This is very similar to astronomy where different magnitudes are assigned to the brightness of an astronomical object, depending on the range of wavelengths being measured.

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