I believe there is no philosophical high-road in science, with epistemological signposts. No, we are in a jungle and find our way by trial and error, building our road behind us as we proceed.— Max Born
The most provocative Max Born quotes that are guaranted to improve your brain
Those who say that the study of science makes a man an atheist, must be rather silly people.
The belief in a single truth is the root cause for all evil in the world.
If God has made the world a perfect mechanism, He has at least conceded so much to our imperfect intellect that in order to predict little parts of it, we need not solve innumerable differential equations, but can use dice with fair success.
My advice to those who which to learn the art of scientific prophesy is not to rely on abstract reason, but to decipher the secret language of Nature from Nature's documents: the facts of experience.
There are two objectionable types of believers: those who believe the incredible and those who believe that 'belief' must be discarded and replaced by 'the scientific method.
I am now convinced that theoretical physics is actually philosophy.
Science is not formal logic-it needs the free play of the mind in as great a degree as any other creative art. It is true that this is a gift which can hardly be taught, but its growth can be encouraged in those who already posses it.
It is a fascinating fact that father and son have given the most striking evidence for the apparently contradictory properties of the electron: the father proving its character as a particle, the son its character as a wave... Thomson was extremely proud of his son's success and tried to assimilate the new results into his old convictions.
Something which is against natural laws seems to me rather out of the question because it would be a depressive idea about God. It would make God smaller than he must be assumed. When he stated that these laws hold, then they hold, and he wouldn't make exceptions. This is too human an idea. Humans do such things, but not God.
The difficulty involved in the proper and adequate means of describing changes in continuous deformable bodies is the method of differential equations. ... They express mathematically the physical concept of contiguous action. Einstein's Theory of Relativity
His [Erwin Schrödinger's] private life seemed strange to bourgeois people like ourselves. But all this does not matter. He was a most lovable person, independent, amusing, temperamental, kind and generous, and he had a most perfect and efficient brain.
But in practical affairs, particularly in politics, men are needed who combine human experience and interest in human relations with a knowledge of science and technology.
The belief that there is only one truth, and that oneself is in possession of it, is the root of all evil in the world.
Intellect distinguishes between the possible and the impossible;
reason distinguishes between the sensible and the senseless. Even the possible can be senseless.
Science?is so greatly opposed to history and tradition that it cannot be absorbed by our civilization.
It is odd to think that there is a word for something which, strictly speaking, does not exist, namely, "rest." We distinguish between living and dead matter; between moving bodies and bodies at rest. This is a primitive point of view. What seems dead, a stone or the proverbial "door-nail," say, is actually forever in motion. We have merely become accustomed to judge by outward appearances; by the deceptive impressions we get through our senses.
It is true that many scientists are not philosophically minded and have hitherto shown much skill and ingenuity but little wisdom.
The problem of physics is how the actual phenomena, as observed with the help of our sense organs aided by instruments, can be reduced to simple notions which are suited for precise measurement and used of the formulation of quantitative laws. Experiment and Theory in Physics
We have sought for firm ground and found none.
The deeper we penetrate, the more restless becomes the universe; all is rushing about and vibrating in a wild dance.
All attempts to adapt our ethical code to our situation in the technological age have failed.
It is natural that a man should consider the work of his hands or his brain to be useful and important. Therefore nobody will object to an ardent experimentalist boasting of his measurements and rather looking down on the 'paper and ink' physics of his theoretical friend, who on his part is proud of his lofty ideas and despises the dirty fingers of the other. Experiment and Theory in Physics
If alpha [the fine-structure constant] were bigger than it really is, we should not be able to distinguish matter from ether [the vacuum, nothingness], and our task to disentangle the natural laws would be hopelessly difficult. The fact however that alpha has just its value 1/137 is certainly no chance but itself a law of nature. It is clear that the explanation of this number must be the central problem of natural philosophy.
I believe that ideas such as absolute certitude, absolute exactness, final truth, etc. are figments of the imagination which should not be admissible in any field of science... This loosening of thinking seems to me to be the greatest blessing which modern science has given to us. For the belief in a single truth and in being the possessor thereof is the root cause of all evil in the world.
Physics as we know it will be over in six months.
No language which lends itself to visualizability can describe quantum jumps.
And the continuity of our science has not been affected by all these turbulent happenings, as the older theories have always been included as limiting cases in the new ones.
The human race has today the means for annihilating itself--either in a fit of complete lunacy, i.e., in a big war...or by the careless handling of atomic technology, through a slow process of poisoning and of deterioration in its genetic structure.
To present a scientific subject in an attractive and stimulating manner is an artistic task, similar to that of a novelist or even a dramatic writer. The same holds for writing textbooks.
We need to make a world in which fewer children are born, and in which we take better care of them.