Paul Dirac Quotes
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Best 38 Quotes by Paul Dirac – Page 1 of 2
“A great deal of my work is just playing with equations and seeing what they give.”
“A physical law must possess mathematical beauty.”
“A termination of one's life is necessary in the scheme of things to provide a logical reason for unselfishness. The fact that there is an end to one's life compels one to take an interest in things that will continue to live after one is dead.”
“A theory with mathematical beauty is more likely to be correct than an ugly one that fits some experimental data.”
“Age is, of course, a fever chill
That every physicist must fear.
He's better dead than living still
When once he's past his thirtieth year.”
“God is a mathematician of a very high order and He used advanced mathematics in constructing the universe.”
“God used beautiful mathematics in creating the world.”
“Hopes are always accompanied by fears, and, in scientific research, the fears are liable to become dominant.”
“I admired Bohr very much. We had long talks together, long talks in which Bohr did practically all the talking.”
“I cannot understand why we idle discussing religion. If we are honest — and scientists have to be — we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality. The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination.”
“I consider that I understand an equation when I can predict the properties of its solutions, without actually solving it.”
“I do not see how a man can work on the frontiers of physics and write poetry at the same time. They are in opposition.”
“I found the best ideas usually came, not when one was actively striving for them, but when one was in a more relaxed state. I used to take long solitary walks on Sundays, during which I tended to review the current situation in a leisurely way. Such occasions often proved fruitful, even though (or perhaps, because) the primary purpose of the walk was relaxation and not research.”
“I should like to suggest to you that the cause of all the economic troubles is that we have an economic system which tries to maintain an equality of value between two things, which it would be better to recognise from the beginning as of unequal value.”
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“I was taught at school never to start a sentence without knowing the end of it.”
“If one is working from the point of view of getting beauty into one's equation, one is on a sure line of progress.”
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“Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.”
“If religion is still being taught, it is by no means because its ideas still convince us, but simply because some of us want to keep the lower classes quiet. Quiet people are much easier to govern than clamorous and dissatisfied ones. They are also much easier to exploit.”
“If there is no complete agreement between the results of one's work and the experiment, one should not allow oneself to be too discouraged.”
“If you are receptive and humble, mathematics will lead you by the hand.”
“In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite.”
“It is more important to have beauty in one's equations than to have them fit experiment.”
“Living is worthwhile if one can contribute in some small way to this endless chain of progress.”
“Mathematics is only a tool and one should learn to hold the physical ideas in one's mind without reference to the mathematical form.”
“Mathematics is the tool specially suited for dealing with abstract concepts of any kind and there is no limit to its power in this field.”
“People who equate all the different kinds of human activity to money are taking too primitive a view of things.”
“Pick a flower on Earth and you move the farthest star.”
“Quantum mechanics has explained all of chemistry and most of physics.”
“Religion is a kind of opium that allows a nation to lull itself into wishful dreams and so forget the injustices that are being perpetrated against the people. Hence the close alliance between those two great political forces, the State and the Church. Both need the illusion that a kindly God rewards—in heaven if not on earth—all those who have not risen up against injustice, who have done their duty quietly and uncomplainingly. That is precisely why the honest assertion that God is a mere product of the human imagination is branded as the worst of all mortal sins.”
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“Scientific progress is measured in units of courage, not intelligence.”
“The aim of science is to make difficult things understandable in a simpler way; the aim of poetry is to state simple things in an incomprehensible way. The two are incompatible.”
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“You put a hard question on the virtue of discipline. What you say is true: I do value it — and I think that you do too — more than for its earthly fruit, proficiency.
I think that one can give only a metaphysical ground for this evaluation; but the variety of metaphysics which gave an answer to your question has been very great, the metaphysics themselves very disparate: the Bhagavad Gita, Ecclesiastes, the Stoa, the beginning of the Laws, Hugo of St Victor, St Thomas, John of the Cross, Spinoza.
This very great disparity suggests that the fact that discipline is good for the soul is more fundamental than any of the grounds given for its goodness. I believe that through discipline, though not through discipline alone, we can achieve serenity, and a certain small but precious measure of freedom from the accidents of incarnation, and charity, and that detachment which preserves the world which it renounces.
I believe that through discipline we can learn to preserve what is essential to our happiness in more and more adverse circumstances, and to abandon with simplicity what would else have seemed to us indispensable; that we come a little to see the world without the gross distortion of personal desire, and in seeing it so, accept more easily our earthly privation and its earthly horror.
But because I believe that the reward of discipline is greater than its immediate objective, I would not have you think that discipline without objective is possible: in its nature discipline involves the subjection of the soul to some perhaps minor end; and that end must be real, if the discipline is not to be factitious.
Therefore I think that all things which evoke discipline: study, and our duties to men and to the commonwealth, war, and personal hardship, and even the need for subsistence, ought to be greeted by us with profound gratitude, for only through them can we attain to the least detachment; and only so can we know peace.”