Enthusiasm is followed by disappointment and even depression, and then by renewed enthusiasm.

— Murray Gell-Mann

The most jaw-dropping Murray Gell-Mann quotes that are proven to give you inner joy

Modern education is like being taken to the world's greatest restaurant & being forced to eat the menu.

34

The world of the quark has everything to do with a jaguar circling in the night.

27

What I try to do in the book is to trace the chain of relationships running from elementary particles, fundamental building blocks of matter everywhere in the universe, such as quarks, all the way to complex entities, and in particular complex adaptive system like jaguars.

25

If someone says that he can think or talk about quantum physics without becoming dizzy, that shows only that he has not understood anything whatever about it.

22

Sustainability is living on nature's income rather than living on its capital.

19

Niels Bohr brainwashed a whole generation of theorists into thinking that the job (interpreting quantum theory) was done 50 years ago.

16

Everything that is not forbidden is compulsory.

15

Hugh Everett's work has been described by many people in terms of many worlds, the idea being that every one of the various alternative histories, branching histories, is assigned some sort of reality.

15

Both biological and cultural diversity are now severely threatened and working for their preservation is a critical task.

12

I would recommend that skeptics devote even more effort than they do now to understanding the reasons why so many people want or need to believe.

9

Modern language must be older than the cave paintings and cave engravings and cave sculptures and dance steps in the soft clay in the caves in Western Europe, in the Aurignacian Period some 35,000 years ago, or earlier. I can't believe they did all those things and didn't also have a modern language.

6

Perhaps we see equations as simple because they are easily expressed in terms of mathematical notation already invented at an earlier stage of development of the science, and thus what appears to us as elegance of description really reflects the interconnectedness of Nature's laws at different levels.

6

About Murray Gell-Mann

Quotes 51 sayings
Profession Physicist
Birthday October 16

I have been interested in phenomena involving complexity, diversity and evolution since I was a young boy.

5

I thought of killing myself but soon decided that I could always try MIT and then kill myself later if it was that bad but that I couldn't commit suicide and then try MIT afterwards. The two operations, suicide and going to MIT, don't commute.

5

We are driven by the usual insatiable curiosity of the scientist, and our work is a delightful game.

5

If I have seen further than others, it is because I am surrounded by dwarfs.

5

I think also of my colleagues in elementary particle theory in many lands, and feel that in some measure I am here as a representative of our small, informal, international fraternity.

4

But when researchers at Bell Labs discovered that static tends to come from particular places in the sky, the whole field of radio astronomy opened up.

4

I do not keep up with the details of particle physics.

4

If we look at the way the universe behaves, quantum mechanics gives us fundamental, unavoidable indeterminacy, so that alternative histories of the universe can be assigned probability.

3

I am frequently astonished that it so often results in correct predictions of experimental results.

2

All of modern physics is governed by that magnificent and thoroughly confusing discipline called quantum mechanics ... It has survived all tests and there is no reason to believe that there is any flaw in it. We all know how to use it and how to apply it to problems; and so we have learned to live with the fact that nobody can understand it.

2

As a theoretical physicist, I feel at once proud and humble at the thought of the illustrious figures that have preceded me here to receive the greatest of all honors in science, the Nobel prize.

2

Superstitions typically involve seeing order where in fact there is none, and denial amounts to rejecting evidence of regularities, sometimes even ones that are staring us in the face.

1

When you think you're listening to several conversations at once, they tell me, you may really simply be time sharing - that is, listening a little bit to this one, a little bit to that one.

0

For me, the study of these laws is inseparable from a love of Nature in all its manifestations. The beauty of the basic laws of natural science, as revealed in the study of particles and of the cosmos, is allied to the litheness of a merganser diving in a pure Swedish lake, or the grace of a dolphin leaving shining trails at night in the Gulf of California.

0

Bush is a nice fellow who gives very good parties.

I just wish someone would find him a better job than running the country.

0

But I don't actually adopt the point of view that our subjective impression of free will, which is a kind of indeterminacy behavior, comes from quantum mechanical indeterminacy.

0

Just because things get a little dingy at the subatomic level doesn't mean all bets are off.

0

What is especially striking and remarkable is that in fundamental physics a beautiful or elegant theory is more likely to be right than a theory that is inelegant.

0

Our planet doesn't seem to be the result of anything very special.

0

Now, what that means is that there is fundamental indeterminacy from quantum mechanics, but besides that there are other sources of effective indeterminacy.

0

Today the network of relationships linking the human race to itself and to the rest of the biosphere is so complex that all aspects affect all others to an extraordinary degree. Someone should be studying the whole system, however crudely that has to be done, because no gluing together of partial studies of a complex nonlinear system can give a good idea of the behavior of the whole.

0

Well, I don't like to get involved in these philosophical issues very much.

0

Of course the word chaos is used in rather a vague sense by a lot of writers, but in physics it means a particular phenomenon, namely that in a nonlinear system the outcome is often indefinitely, arbitrarily sensitive to tiny changes in the initial condition.

0

For me, the study of these laws is inseparable from a love of Nature in all its manifestations.

0

The chaos can act as a magnifier of quantum fluctuations so that they can produce sizable effects in the world around us. But we know that that can happen often.

0

One thing that makes the adventure of working in our field particularly rewarding, especially in attempting to improve the theory, is that... a chief criterion for the selection of a correct hypothesis... seems to be the criterion of beauty, simplicity, or elegance.

0

The persistence of erroneous beliefs exacerbates the widespread anachronistic failure to recognize the urgent problems that face humanity on this planet.

0

You know, there was a time, just before I started to study physical science, when astronomers thought that systems such as we have here in the solar system required a rare triple collision of stars.

0

While many questions about quantum mechanics are still not fully resolved, there is no point in introducing needless mystification where in fact no problem exists. Yet a great deal of recent writing about quantum mechanics has done just that.

0

In fact any experiment that measures a quantum effect is one in which the quantum effect is aligned with the behavior of some heavy, macroscopic object; that's how we measure it.

0

So the old Copenhagen interpretation needs to be generalized, needs to be replaced by something that can be used for the whole universe, and can be used also in cases where there is plenty of individuality and history.

0

If you know the wavefunction of the universe, why aren't you rich?

0

Think how hard physics would be if particles could think

0

Three principles - the conformability of nature to herself, the applicability of the criterion of simplicity, and the utility of certain parts of mathematics in describing physical reality - are thus consequences of the underlying law of the elementary particles and their interactions. Those three principles need not be assumed as separate metaphysical postulates. Instead, they are emergent properties of the fundamental laws of physics.

0

Sometimes the probabilities are very close to certainties, but they're never really certainties.

0

In our work, we are always between Scylla and Charybdis;

we may fail to abstract enough, and miss important physics, or we may abstract too much and end up with fictitious objects in our models turning into real monsters that devour us.

0

Planets are too dim to be detected with existing equipment, far away, except in these very special circumstances where they're seen by their gravitational effect.

0
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