All of physics is either impossible or trivial. It is impossible until you understand it, and then it becomes trivial.— Ernest Rutherford
The most sensual Ernest Rutherford quotes that will inspire your inner self
When we have found how the nucleus of atoms is built up we shall have found the greatest secret of all — except life. We shall have found the basis of everything — of the earth we walk on, of the air we breathe, of the sunshine, of our physical body itself, of everything in the world, however great or however small — except life.
A theory that you can't explain to a bartender is probably no damn good.
An alleged scientific discovery has no merit unless it can be explained to a barmaid.
All science is either physics or stamp collecting.
It was almost as incredible as if you fired a 15-inch shell at a piece of tissue paper and it came back and hit you.
If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.
The only possible conclusion the social sciences can draw is: some do, some don't.
I must confess it was very unexpected and I am very startled at my metamorphosis into a chemist.
All science is either physics or stamp collecting.
The energy produced by the breaking down of the atom is a very poor kind of thing. Anyone who expects a source of power from the transformation of these atoms is talking moonshine.
I am a great believer in the simplicity of things and as you probably know I am inclined to hang on to broad & simple ideas like grim death until evidence is too strong for my tenacity.
We are rather like children, who must take a watch to pieces to see how it works.
I have to keep going, as there are always people on my track.
I have to publish my present work as rapidly as possible in order to keep in the race. The best sprinters in this road of investigation are Becquerel and the Curies.
I've just finished reading some of my early papers, and you know, when I'd finished I said to myself, 'Rutherford, my boy, you used to be a damned clever fellow.' (1911)
Radioactivity is shown to be accompanied by chemical changes in which new types of matter are being continually produced. .... The conclusion is drawn that these chemical changes must be sub-atomic in character.
It is essential for men of science to take an interest in the administration of their own affairs or else the professional civil servant will step in - and then the Lord help you.
That which is not measurable is not science. That which is not physics is stamp collecting.
Splitting the atom is like trying to shoot a gnat in the Albert Hall at night and using ten million rounds of ammunition on the off chance of getting it. That should convince you that the atom will always be a sink of energy and never a reservoir of energy.
All scientific men will be delighted to extend their warmest congratulations to Tesla and to express their appreciation of his great contributions to science.
If, as I have reason to believe, I have disintegrated the nucleus of the atom, this is of greater significance than the war.
The year 1896 ... marked the beginning of what has been aptly termed the heroic age of Physical Science. Never before in the history of physics has there been witnessed such a period of intense activity when discoveries of fundamental importance have followed one another with such bewildering rapidity.
If your result needs a statistician then you should design a better experiment.
Don't let me catch anyone talking about the Universe in my department.
The greatest contributor to the feeling of tension and fear of war arose from the power of the bombing aeroplane. If all nations would consent to abolish air bombardment . . . that would mean the greatest possible release from fear.
Should a young scientist working with me come to me after two years of such work and ask me what to do next, I would advise him to get out of science. After two years of work, if a man does not know what to do next, he will never make a real scientist.
A good scientific theory should be explicable to a barmaid.
Never say, "I tried it once and it did not work."
The more physics you have the less engineering you need.
Every good laboratory consists of first rate men working in great harmony to insure the progress of science; but down at the end of the hall is an unsociable, wrong-headed fellow working on unprofitable lines, and in his hands lies the hope of discovery.
Gentlemen, now you will see that now you see nothing.
And why you see nothing you will see presently.
You should never bet against anything in science at odds of more than about 1012 to 1.
Gentlemen, we have run out of money. It is time to start thinking.
You know, I am sorry for the poor fellows that haven't got labs to work in.
The great object is to find the theory of the matter [of X-rays] before anyone else, for nearly every professor in Europe is now on the warpath.
I congratulate you both on a fine piece of work which I am sure will ultimately prove of importance. I am personally very much interested in your results... In the past I have tried a number of experiments... but without any success.
Now I know what the atom looks like.
We haven't got the money, so we've got to think.
[From uranium] there are present at least two distinct types of radiation one that is very readily absorbed, which will be termed for convenience the α radiation, and the other of a more penetrative character, which will be termed the β radiation.