- 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.
- All science is either physics or stamp collecting.
- I came into the room which was half-dark and presently spotted Lord Kelvin in the audience, and realised that I was in for trouble at the last part of my speech dealing with the age of the Earth, where my views conflicted with his. To my relief, Kelvin fell fast asleep, but as I came to the important point, I saw the old bird sit up, open an eye and cock a baleful glance at me. Then a sudden inspiration came, and I said Lord Kelvin had limited the age of the Earth, provided no new source [of heat] was discovered. That prophetic utterance referred to what we are now considering tonight, radium! Behold! The old boy beamed upon me.
- If you can't explain your physics to a barmaid it is probably not very good physics.
- All scientific men will be delighted to extend their warmest congratulations to Tesla and to express their appreciation of his great contributions to science.
- I have always been very proud of the fact that I am a New Zealander.
- I have broken the machine and touched the ghost of matter.
- I'm a simple man myself.
- If your result needs a statistician then you should design a better experiment.
- It was as if you fired a 15-inch shell at a sheet of tissue paper and it came back to hit you.
- That man is an Euclidian point: position without substance.
- That's the last potato I will ever dig.
- The energy produced by breaking down the atom is a very poor kind of thing. Anyone who expects a source of power from the transformations of these atoms is taking moonshine.
- The more physics you have the less engineering you need.
- The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the 'social sciences' is: some do, some don't.
- We don't have the money, so we have to think. (or 'We didn't have the money, so we had to think.')
- You should never bet against anything in science at odds of more than about 10 or 12 to 1.