Speaking of Science

August 2012's selection of notable quotes

Aug 1, 2012
The Scientist Staff


I am astounded at the amazing speed with which these results have emerged. They are a testament to the expertise of the researchers and the elaborate technologies in place. I never expected this to happen in my lifetime and shall be asking my family to put some champagne in the fridge.

—Retired British physicist Peter Higgs, for whom the elusive Higgs boson was named, after the announcement on July 4 that researchers at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland, had collected data pointing to the existence of the particle he had theorized decades ago (July 9, 2012)


Most of what is important is messy, and not given to a moment when you plant a flag and crack the champagne.

Steven Hyman, a neuroscientist at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, differentiating between the hunt for the Higgs boson and similarly fundamental discoveries in the biological sciences (Nature, Mar. 28, 2012)



Art is made to memorialize time. A culture is known by its art, not by its science.

—Artist Michael Heizer, referring to “Levitated Mass,” his installation piece consisting of a 340-ton granite boulder resting above a 456-foot-long groove carved in the north lawn of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The exhibition opened at the end of June. (Reuters, June 24, 2012)



If ever there was a reason for bringing the humanities and science closer together, it is the need to understand the true nature of the human sensory world, as contrasted with that seen by the rest of life.

—Harvard University evolutionary biologist Edward O. Wilson, in his recently published book, The Social Conquest of Earth (2012)



My vision is for science to be the start of a renaissance in Egypt and for science research to be our weapon against the major problems that our country faces.

—Newly elected Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who won the country’s recent general election and holds a PhD in material science from the University of Southern California (Nature, June 26, 2012)



Everyone agrees that greater open access would bring huge economic and public benefits. The challenge though is how we move to this model without damaging UK research, peer review, or scientific publishers?

—Sociologist Dame Janet Finch, who chaired the Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings, in a report recommending that funders of research in the United Kingdom urge scientists to publish their work in open-access journals (June 18, 2012)