Engineering & Science Notable Tech Quote Archive #26
number of statements uttered verbally and/or in print is uncountable. Some are more noteworthy than others either because of sheer brilliance,
good humor, or utter inanity. We all hope our own remembered words, if any, fall into one of the first two categories rather than the third.
I do a lot of reading and find many notable quotes to use that fit the theme of RF Cafe; they fall into all three categories. I always try to
verify quotes from original sources or at least from printed books like
The Experts Speak, of which I own a hard copy. Enjoy.
Notable Tech Quote Archive
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- "X-Rays are a hoax." - Lord
(after whom the Kelvin temperature scale is named in honor of his determining the value of absolute zero), nee William
Thomson. He also, in 1895, famously noted, "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." So much for otherwise
really smart guys always being right in their predictions.
again." That phrase is
often in telephony conversations both wired and wireless. It was coined near the end of World War II by Air
Corpsman 2nd Lt. Byron A. Susan, as reported in the January 1945 edition of Radio Craft magazine.
Lt. Susan was responsible for setting standards for "radio
phraseology" to eliminate ambiguity between aviators and ground forces. "Say again" replaced "Repeat" because
the latter is an artillery term used to order the repeat of a gun salvo.
is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow."
- Dr. Robert Hutchings Goddard
and the Internet are good because they keep stupid people from spending too much time out in public." - Douglas
Coupland, Canadian fiction writer and cultural commentator, in
JPOD (unfortunately, some still vote)
- "In questions of science, the
of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual." -
Galileo Galilei, Italian scientist
and philosopher. Hmmmm... Does that apply to any major contemporary topic you can think of?
- "All in all, there seems to be
limit in sight to future electronic expansion." - Hugo Gernsback, electronics inventor, marketer, futurist, author,
and publisher (quoted from "Our
Growing Industry," 1958)
- "Successful technocrats are
found among the ranks of such plodders of limited vision and ambition. Instead, they are found among those who aspire
to eminence through their position in the technical hierarchy. Such men will find their climb made easier by the
large number who choose to remain behind by practicing creative incompetence." - Archibald Putt, in his book
Putt's Law and the Successful Technocrat. Hat tip to Lance Lascari, aka "RF
- "On closer inspection,
the first question to ask is whether computers are getting smarter or people are getting dumber." - David Auerbach,
The Age columnist, in "Turing
Test: What Eugene Said, and Why It Fooled the Judges"
- "Bill Gates is a very rich man
and do you want to know why? The answer is one word: Versions." -
Dave Barry, humorist.
- "Since many years scientific
engaged in the study of physics and electrical research have taken it for granted that certain quantities, entering
continuously in their estimates and calculations, are fixed and unalterable. ...some of the quantities referred
to are variable and that, owing to this, a large portion of the technical literature is defective." -
New York Sun, January 30, 1901
"Hey, I'm a good software
but I'm not exactly known for my fashion sense. White socks and sandals don't translate to 'good design sense'."
- Linus Torvalds, inventor of Linux
they don't define themselves on the web, they're going to be defined by someone else." -
Ambron, co-founder of BrandYourself, regarding personal
and corporate reputation control on the Internet.
better an approximate answer to the right question, which is often vague, than an exact answer to the wrong question,
which can always be made precise." - John
Wilder Tukey, statistician and developer of the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT).
are two possible outcomes: if the result confirms the hypothesis, then you have made a measurement. If the result
is contrary to the hypothesis, then you have made a discovery." Enrico Fermi. Caveat: This quote is widely repeated
on the Internet and in printed material. I could not find an original source, but it sounds good and he could easily
have said it considering his other sourced quotes.
think high self-esteem is overrated. A little low self-esteem is actually quite good…Maybe you're not the best,
so you should work a little harder." Also... "Stephen Hawking is getting a divorce. That's scary. If the smartest
guy in the world can't figure out women, we're screwed." - Jay Leno
problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics, whose horizons are limited by the obvious
realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were, and ask why not." - President Kennedy's address
to the Irish Parliament in June 1963,
Equality to most politicians is taking from people who work for a living and giving it to people who vote for a
living." - Anon
spoils numbers faster than arithmetic!" - Peppermint Patty, from the Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. The
comic strip has been a lifelong favorite of mine.
- Walter Murch, sound designer for the film
American Graffiti. That's film lingo for "reel two, dialog two," and is what Mr. Murch had said to
producer George Lucas during the editing process. Lucas was also in the process of writing the script for
Star Wars and needed a name for his robot. Seen in the November 2013 edition of
Smithsonian magazine (p
- "If you think there's no big deal about those two little letters 'E' and 'X',
just ask my wife if she is the same as my ex-wife." - RF Cafe visitor Mr. Steve Gilbert, in response to my Day in
History item for March 4th. In it, I stated, "1930: President Calvin
Coolidge dedicated the
Coolidge Dam on
Gila River in AZ." Steve's comment was in regard to my use of "President" vs. "Ex-President." Technically, it is
correct to refer to an ex-president as "President," but I laughed so hard at his comment that I had to ask for permission
to post it.
no doubt who was a leader in space after the Apollo Program. Nobody came close to us. And our education system,
in science, technology, engineering, and math, was at the top of the world. It's no longer there. We're descending
rather rapidly." -- Buzz Aldrin, former
NASA astronaut and second person to walk on the moon (Source: Wikipedia) Buzz is one of my all-time favorite astronauts,
and is the namesake of Toy Story's
- "There is also the great driving force which we know under the name of
religion. From religion comes a man's purpose ; from science, his power to achieve it. Sometimes people ask if religion
and science are not opposed to one another. They are: in the sense that the thumb and fingers of my hand are opposed
to one another. It is an opposition by means of which anything can be grasped. It is right, therefore, with all
our heart to learn what will help us in the work we want to do, so that when the call comes we can say, 'I am here
and ready; I want to play my part, and I have tried to fit myself to play it well.'" -
Henry Bragg, Nobel Laureate, from "The
World of Sound" lecture at the Royal Institution, Christmas 1919.