|—||Jonathan I. Katz|
A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity of scientists. Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is the scientific equivalent of: Have you read a work of Shakespeare’s?
I now believe that if I had asked an even simpler question — such as, What do you mean by mass, or acceleration, which is the scientific equivalent of saying, Can you read? — not more than one in ten of the highly educated would have felt that I was speaking the same language. So the great edifice of modern physics goes up, and the majority of the cleverest people in the western world have about as much insight into it as their neolithic ancestors would have had.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, in response to the question “If you lost everything tomorrow, what would you do?”
In science, progress is possible.
|—||Nate Silver, in The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don’t|
Suppose that we were asked to arrange the following in two categories—
distance, mass, electric force, entropy, beauty, melody.
I think there are the strongest grounds for placing entropy alongside beauty and melody and not with the first three.
Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington
in The Nature of the Physical World, 1927
Salviati’s (Galileo’s voice) response to Simplicio (Pope Urban VIII)
Galileo Galilei in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems
|—||Woodrow Wilson, 28th U.S. president|