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william thomson Quotes

William Thomson Quotes

Date of Death: 1907-12-17 (Tuesday, December 17th, 1907)



    • I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts, advanced to the stage of science, whatever the matter may be.
    • There cannot be a greater mistake than that of looking superciliously upon the practical applications of science. The life and soul of science is its practical application; and just as the great advances in mathematics have been made through the desire of discovering the solution of problems which were of a highly practical kind in mathematical science, so in physical science many of the greatest advances that have been made from the beginning of the world to the present time have been made in earnest desire to turn the knowledge of the properties of matter to some purpose useful to mankind.
    • Quaternions came from Hamilton after his really good work had been done, and though beautifully ingenious, have been an unmixed evil to those who have touched them in any way.
    • Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.
    • Symmetrical equations are good in their place, but 'vector' is a useless survival, or offshoot from quaternions, and has never been of the slightest use to any creature.
    • There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement.
    • Do not imagine that mathematics is hard and crabbed, and repulsive to common sense. It is merely the etherealization of common sense.
    • Tesla has contributed more to electrical science than any man up to his time.
    • Radio has no future. X-ray is a hoax
    • MacTutor Profile at University of St. Andrews
    • Lord Kelvin online
    • Kelvin is Lord! - satirical website devoted to the 'worship' of Lord Kelvin
    • 'William Thomson: king of Victorian physics' by Mark McCartney in Physics World (1 December 2002)
    • Measuring the Absolute: William Thomson and Temperature (2002) by Hasok Chang and Sang Wook Yi (PDF file)
    • The Molecular Tactics of a Crystal (1894)
    • Baltimore lectures on molecular dynamics and the wave theory of light (1904)
    • Mathematical and physical papers Volume V (1911)
    • Treatise on natural philosophy Vol. 1 (1912 - 1923)
    • Treatise on natural philosophy (Vol. 2)
    • william thomson

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