Gay-Lussac was quick, lively, ingenious and profound, with great activity of mind and great facility of manipulation. I should place him at the head of all the living chemists in France.— Humphry Davy
The most bashful Humphry Davy quotes that are glad to read
The most important of my discoveries have been suggested to me by my failures.
The three states of the caterpillar, larva, and butterfly have, since the time of the Greek poets, been applied to typify the human being,--its terrestrial form, apparent death, and ultimate celestial destination.
I have learned more from my mistakes than from my successes.
Every discovery opens a new field for investigation of facts, shows us the imperfection of our theories. It has justly been said, that the greater the circle of light, the greater the boundary of darkness by which it is surrounded.
Experimental science hardly ever affords us more than approximations to the truth; and whenever many agents are concerned we are in great danger of being mistaken.
Nothing tends so much to the advancement of knowledge as the application of a new instrument.
We must reason in natural philosophy not from what we hope, or even expect, but from what we perceive.
Oh, most magnificent and noble Nature! Have I not worshipped thee with such a love As never mortal man before displayed? Adored thee in thy majesty of visible creation, And searched into thy hidden and mysterious ways As Poet, as Philosopher, as Sage?
Nature is beautiful, and you are in her bosom.
That voice of comfort which speaks in the breezes of morning, may visit your mind, that the delightful influences which the green leaves, the blue sky, the moonbeams and clouds of the evening diffuse over the universe, may in their powers of soul-healing, visit your day visions, is my desire and hope.
By science calmed, over the peaceful soul, Bright with eternal Wisdom's lucid ray, Peace, meek of eye, extends her soft control, And drives the puny Passions far away.
In the present state of our knowledge, it would be useless to attempt to speculate on the remote cause of the electrical energy... its relation to chemical affinity is, however, sufficiently evident. May it not be identical with it, and an essential property of matter?
James Watt was equally distinguished as a natural philosopher and chemist;
his inventions demonstrate his profound knowledge of those sciences, and that peculiar characteristic of genius - the union of them for practical application.
The art galleries of Paris contain the finest collection of frames I ever saw.
I envy no quality of the mind or intellect in others;
not genius, power, wit, nor fancy; but, if I could choose what would be most delightful, and, I believe, most useful to me, I should prefer a firm religious belief to every other blessing.
Consistency in opinion is the slow poison of intellectual life, the destroyer of its vividness and energy.
The well-mannered man never puts out his hand in greeting until a lady extends hers. This is a test of good breeding that is constantly applied. ... The first move in the direction of cordiality must come from the lady, the whole code of behaviour being based on the assumption that she is the social superior.
Profound minds are the most likely to think lightly of the resources of human reason, and it is the superficial thinker who is generally strongest in every kind of unbelief.
When two elements combine and form more than one compound, the masses of one element that react with a fixed mass of the other are in the ratio of small whole numbers.
The progression of physical science is much more connected with your prosperity than is usually imagined. You owe to experimental philosophy some of the most important and peculiar of your advantages. It is not by foreign conquests chiefly that you are become great, but by a conquest of nature in your own country.
It must always be borne in mind that the assumption of woman's social superiority lies at the root of these rules of conduct.
I suppose there was never yet a woman who had not somewhere set up on a pedestal in her brain an ideal of manhood. ... He never is finished till the brain of his creator ceases to work, till she has added her last touch to him, and has laid down the burden of life and gone elsewhere, perhaps to some happy land where ideals are more frequently realised than ever happens here.
To me there never has been a higher source of honour or distinction than that connected with advances in science. I have not possessed enough of the eagle in my character to make a direct flight to the loftiest altitudes in the social world; and I certainly never endeavored to reach those heights by using the creeping powers of the reptile, who in ascending, generally chooses the dirtiest path, because it is the easiest.
Nothing is so dangerous to the progress of the human mind than to assume that our views of science are ultimate, that there are no mysteries in nature, that our triumphs are complete and that there are no new worlds to conquer.
If I am allowed to give a metaphorical allusion to the future state of the blessed, I should imagine it by the orange-grove in that sheltered glen on which the sun is now beginning to shine, and of which the trees are at the same time, loaded with sweet golden fruit and balmy silver flowers. Such objects may well portray a state in which hope and fruition become one eternal feeling.
But if the two countries or governments are at war, the men of science are not.
That would, indeed be a civil war of the worst description: we should rather, through the instrumentality of the men of science soften the asperities of national hostility. Davy's remarks to Thomas Poole on accepting Napoleon's prize for the best experiment on Galvanism.
There may be beings, thinking beings, near or surrounding us, which we do not perceive, which we cannot imagine. We know very little; but, in my opinion, we know enough to hope for the immortality, the individual immortality, of the better part of man.
This sentiment of self-contempt is a frequent one in young people of both sexes.
Their valuation of themselves varies as much as the barometer, and is as much affected by outward causes.
There are very few persons who pursue science with true dignity.
What is politeness in the home but the outcome of affection and self-respect, and the suppression of all those natural instincts of self-seeking that, allowed their way, produce the worst manners in the world?
Fortunately science, like that nature to which it belongs, is neither limited by time nor by space. It belongs to the world, and is of no country and no age. The more we know, the more we feel our ignorance; the more we feel how much remains unknown.
The ready apology covers a multitude of social sins.
Nothing tends so much to the advancement of knowledge as the application of a new instrument. The native intellectual powers of men in different times are not so much the causes of the different success of their labours, as the peculiar nature of the means and artificial resources in their possession.
Language is not only the vehicle of thought, it is a great and efficient instrument in thinking.
And by the influence of heat, light, and electrical powers, there is a constant series of changes; matter assumes new forms, the destruction of one order of beings tends to the conservation of another; solution and consolidation, decay and renovation, are connected; and whilst the parts of the system continue in a state of fluctuation and change, the order and harmony of the whole remain unalterable.
The whole language of nature informs us, that in animated beings there is something above our powers of investigation; something which employs, combines, and arranges the gross elements of matter - a spark of celestial fire, by which life is kindled and preserved, and which, if even the instruments it employs are indestructible in their essence, must itself, of necessity, be immortal.
The ideal life is that which has few friends, but many acquaintances.
Mr. Dalton's permanent reputation will rest upon his having discovered a simple principle, universally applicable to the facts of chemistry - in fixing the proportions in which bodies combine, and thus laying the foundation for future labors... his merits in this respect resemble those of Kepler in astronomy.
We can trace back our existence almost to a point.
Former time presents us with trains of thoughts gradually diminishing to nothing. But our ideas of futurity are perpetually expanding. Our desires and our hopes, even when modified by our fears, seem to grasp at immensity. This alone would be sufficient to prove the progressiveness of our nature, and that this little earth is but a point from which we start toward a perfection of being.
Cuvier had even in his address & manner the character of a superior Man, much general power & eloquence in conversation & great variety of information on scientific as well as popular subjects. I should say of him that he is the most distinguished man of talents I have ever known on the continent: but I doubt if He be entitled to the appellation of a Man of Genius.
Geology, perhaps more than any other department of natural philosophy, is a science of contemplation. It requires no experience or complicated apparatus, no minute processes upon the unknown processes of matter. It demands only an enquiring mind and senses alive to the facts almost everywhere presented in nature. And as it may be acquired without much difficulty, so it may be improved without much painful exertion.
The wealth and prosperity of the country are only the comeliness of the body, the fullness of the flesh and fat; but the spirit is independent of them; it requires only muscle, bone and nerve for the true exercise of its functions. We cannot lose our liberty, because we cannot cease to think.