The rugged Andes mountains of Patagonia, Argentina appear in the foreground in the featured image above along with the great comet of 2007, the iconic Comet McNaught. This image was obtained during the Austral Summer (20070126) by Professor Miloslav Druckmueller of the Brno University of Technology, the Czech Republic. It was also featured as the Astronomy Picture of the Day for 14 January, 2018. Understood within the context of increasing distance, the comet is a foreground object, followed by field stars > magnitude 6, the Milky Way and galactic center, the LMC and SMC.
Scientists are an interesting breed, they are creative, adventurers, critical, and pragmatic. This may not be the initial subset of people you would look to for inspiration. However, think for an instance of the motivation required to tackle the great intellectual challenges of our time. Scientists are driven by constant curiosity and inspired to find truth.
1. I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. –Isaac Newton.
2.Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe. –Albert Einstein.
3. Life cannot have had a random beginning … The trouble is that there are about 2000 enzymes, and the chance of obtaining them all in a random trial is only one part in 10^40,000, an outrageously small probability that could not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup. –Fred Hoyle.
4. It is strange that only extraordinary men make the discoveries, which later appear so easy and simple. –Georg C. Lichtenberg.
5. There may be babblers, wholly ignorant of mathematics, who dare to condemn my hypothesis, upon the authority of some part of the Bible twisted to suit their purpose. I value them not, and scorn their unfounded judgment. –Nicolaus Copernicus.
6. There is no law except the law that there is no law. –John Archibald Wheeler.
7. We pass through this world but once. Few tragedies can be more extensive than the stunting of life, few injustices deeper than the denial of an opportunity to strive or even to hope, by a limit imposed from without, but falsely identified as lying within. –Stephen Jay Gould.
8. Falsity in intellectual action is intellectual immorality. –Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin
Thomas Chamberlin’s inspirational quote above was given during the 1888 University of Michigan Annual Commencement. Thomas Chamberlin (1843 – 1928) was an influential geologist who founded the Journal of Geology.
9. The black holes of nature are the most perfect macroscopic objects there are in the universe: the only elements in their construction are our concepts of space and time. –Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar.
10. One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away. ― Stephen Hawking.
11. “If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of Giants” ―Isaac Newton
12. “If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
13. “You may tell that German College that their honor comes too late,
But they must not waste repentance on the grizzly savant’s fate.
Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light;
I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.” –Sarah Williams (From The Old Astronomer to his Pupil)
14. “We, all of us, bound by this common origin, composed of elements forged in the nuclear cauldrons of long-dead stars, look up at the stars and, in humility, connect with each other, fellow travelers on this magnificent blue oasis” –Author Unknown
15. “All our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike-and yet it is the most precious thing we have” –Albert Einstein
16. “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.” –Enrico Fermi
17. “There are stars whose radiance is visible on Earth though they have long been extinct. There are people whose brilliance continues to light the world though they are no longer among the living. These lights are particularly bright when the night is dark. They light the way for humankind.” –Hannah Szenes, Hungarian poet, playwright and paratrooper (17 July 1921-1944)
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