- Although the problem of transmuting chemical elements into each other is much older than a satisfactory definition of the very concept of chemical element, it is well known that the first and most important step towards its solution was made only nineteen years ago by the late Lord Rutherford, who started the method of the nuclear bombardments.
- Such a weapon goes far beyond any military objective and enters the range of very great natural catastrophes. By its very nature it cannot be confined to a military objective but becomes a weapon which in practical effect is almost one of genocide. It is clear that the use of such a weapon cannot be justified on any ethical ground which gives a human being a certain individuality and dignity even if he happens to be a resident of an enemy country... The fact that no limits exist to the destructiveness of this weapon makes its very existence and the knowledge of its construction a danger to humanity as a whole. It is necessarily an evil thing considered in any light.
- Where are they?
- I cannot think of a single one, not even intelligence.
- I hope it won't take long.
- If I could remember the names of all these particles, I'd be a botanist.
- There are two possible outcomes: if the result confirms the hypothesis, then you've made a measurement. If the result is contrary to the hypothesis, then you've made a discovery.
- Albert! Stop telling God what to do.
- Before I came here I was confused about this subject. Having listened to your lecture I am still confused. But on a higher level.
- Never be first; try to be second.
- Never underestimate the joy people derive from hearing something they already know.
- The fundamental point in fabricating a chain reacting machine is of course to see to it that each fission produces a certain number of neutrons and some of these neutrons will again produce fission.
- Whatever nature has in store for mankind, unpleasant as it may be, men must accept, for ignorance is never better than knowledge.
- A three standard deviation is a statistical fluctuation; a five standard deviation effect is a miracle. Quoted by Owen Chamberlain.
- Some recent work by E. Fermi and L. Szilard, which has been communicated to me in manuscript, leads me to expect that the element uranium may be turned into a new and important source of energy in the immediate future. Certain aspects of the situation seem to call for watchfulness and, if necessary, quick action on the part of the Administration...
- He was simply unable to let things be foggy. Since they always are, this kept him pretty active.
- If Fermi had been born a few years earlier, one could well imagine him discovering Rutherford's atomic nucleus, and then developing Bohr's theory of the hydrogen atom. If this sounds like hyperbole, anything about Fermi is likely to sound like hyperbole.
- There is no democracy in physics. We can't say that some second-rate guy has as much right to opinion as Fermi.