Frasi di John Herschel

John Herschel foto
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John Herschel

Data di nascita: 7. Marzo 1792
Data di morte: 11. Maggio 1871

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John Frederick William Herschel è stato un astronomo, matematico e chimico inglese.

John Herschel fu il primo a utilizzare il calendario giuliano nell'astronomia, portò importanti contributi al miglioramento dei procedimenti fotografici del periodo , scoprendo la proprietà del tiosolfato di sodio, al tempo iposolfito di sodio, nel fissaggio dell'immagine. Coniò inoltre i termini fotografia, negativo e positivo.

Frasi John Herschel

„I hope we shall never allow ourselves to forget the infinitely higher and more important circumstance, that it is the great truths of science, that it is the interpretation of God's great book of nature, and not the men who interpret these pages, that are the ultimate objects of all this praise.“

— John Herschel
Context: Not to feel elevated on an occasion like the present, by this noble, this magnificent testimony of approbation of my friends, is not in human nature — at all events, it is not in my nature; but if any overweaning self-complacency might arise, and mix itself with my feelings at this moment, there is one consideration which would suffice to set it at rest for ever... The assembly, magnificent as it is, comprising in itself, as it does, the elite of everything that is illustrious in rank, talent, wealth, in the metropolis — this very assembly is a proof of the justice to which I have adverted I should be weak indeed, if I supposed that all this glorious array has reference to myself. No; it has reference to a far higher and more dignified object. I am but as one drop in the ocean. Every man of science will feel quite as much a sharer in the honors of the day, will feel quite as much distinguished by this assembly as I can be; for when, ere this, would it have been possible to collect together such an assembly as is around me to do honor to science, place it n preeminence, and crown it with distinction? This is, indeed, a new era — this is a memorable day for science, and every man who regards truth for its own sake will feel that on this occasion the eyes of the country are on him, and that England expects every man to do his duty! By that I have been able to accomplish in Africa, I have been amply rewarded; but I stand here not so much for anything of this nature, but as the representative of a class that is distinguished — of a principle which is triumphant; and I hope we shall never allow ourselves to forget the infinitely higher and more important circumstance, that it is the great truths of science, that it is the interpretation of God's great book of nature, and not the men who interpret these pages, that are the ultimate objects of all this praise. The Athenaeum, Journal of English Foreign Literature, Science, and the fine arts., London (16 June 1838), p. 555

„We must never forget that it is principles, not phenomena, — laws not insulated independent facts, — which are the objects of inquiry to the natural philosopher.“

— John Herschel
Context: We must never forget that it is principles, not phenomena, — laws not insulated independent facts, — which are the objects of inquiry to the natural philosopher. As truth is single, and consistent with itself, a principle may be as completely and as plainly elucidated by the most familiar and simple fact, as by the most imposing and uncommon phenomenon. The colours which glitter on a soapbubble are the immediate consequence of a principle the most important, from the variety of phenomena it explains, and the most beautiful, from its simplicity and compendious neatness, in the whole science of optics. If the nature of periodical colours can be made intelligible by the contemplation of such a trivial object, from that moment it becomes a noble instrument in the eye of correct judgment; and to blow a large, regular, and durable soap-bubble may become the serious and praise-worthy endeavour of a sage, while children stand round and scoff, or children of a larger growth hold up their hands in astonishment at such waste of time and trouble. To the natural philosopher there is no natural object unimportant or trifling. From the least of nature's works he may learn the greatest lessons. The fall of an apple to the ground may raise his thoughts to the laws which govern the revolutions of the planets in their orbits; or the situation of a pebble may afford him evidence of the state of the globe he inhabits, myriads of ages ago, before his species became its denizens. And this, is, in fact, one of the great sources of delight which the study of natural science imparts to its votaries. A mind which has once imbibed a taste for scientific inquiry, and has learnt the habit of applying its principles readily to the cases which occur, has within itself an inexhaustible source of pure and exciting contemplations. One would think that Shakspeare had such a mind in view when he describes a contemplative man as finding

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„A mind which has once imbibed a taste for scientific inquiry, and has learnt the habit of applying its principles readily to the cases which occur, has within itself an inexhaustible source of pure and exciting contemplations.“

— John Herschel
Context: We must never forget that it is principles, not phenomena, — laws not insulated independent facts, — which are the objects of inquiry to the natural philosopher. As truth is single, and consistent with itself, a principle may be as completely and as plainly elucidated by the most familiar and simple fact, as by the most imposing and uncommon phenomenon. The colours which glitter on a soapbubble are the immediate consequence of a principle the most important, from the variety of phenomena it explains, and the most beautiful, from its simplicity and compendious neatness, in the whole science of optics. If the nature of periodical colours can be made intelligible by the contemplation of such a trivial object, from that moment it becomes a noble instrument in the eye of correct judgment; and to blow a large, regular, and durable soap-bubble may become the serious and praise-worthy endeavour of a sage, while children stand round and scoff, or children of a larger growth hold up their hands in astonishment at such waste of time and trouble. To the natural philosopher there is no natural object unimportant or trifling. From the least of nature's works he may learn the greatest lessons. The fall of an apple to the ground may raise his thoughts to the laws which govern the revolutions of the planets in their orbits; or the situation of a pebble may afford him evidence of the state of the globe he inhabits, myriads of ages ago, before his species became its denizens. And this, is, in fact, one of the great sources of delight which the study of natural science imparts to its votaries. A mind which has once imbibed a taste for scientific inquiry, and has learnt the habit of applying its principles readily to the cases which occur, has within itself an inexhaustible source of pure and exciting contemplations. One would think that Shakspeare had such a mind in view when he describes a contemplative man as finding

„To ascend to the origin of things and speculate on the creation, is not the business of the natural philosopher.“

— John Herschel
Context: To ascend to the origin of things and speculate on the creation, is not the business of the natural philosopher. An humbler field is sufficient for him in the endeavor to discover, as far as our faculties will permit; what are these primary qualities impressed on matter, and to discover the spirit of the laws of nature

„To the natural philosopher there is no natural object unimportant or trifling. From the least of nature's works he may learn the greatest lessons.“

— John Herschel
Context: We must never forget that it is principles, not phenomena, — laws not insulated independent facts, — which are the objects of inquiry to the natural philosopher. As truth is single, and consistent with itself, a principle may be as completely and as plainly elucidated by the most familiar and simple fact, as by the most imposing and uncommon phenomenon. The colours which glitter on a soapbubble are the immediate consequence of a principle the most important, from the variety of phenomena it explains, and the most beautiful, from its simplicity and compendious neatness, in the whole science of optics. If the nature of periodical colours can be made intelligible by the contemplation of such a trivial object, from that moment it becomes a noble instrument in the eye of correct judgment; and to blow a large, regular, and durable soap-bubble may become the serious and praise-worthy endeavour of a sage, while children stand round and scoff, or children of a larger growth hold up their hands in astonishment at such waste of time and trouble. To the natural philosopher there is no natural object unimportant or trifling. From the least of nature's works he may learn the greatest lessons. The fall of an apple to the ground may raise his thoughts to the laws which govern the revolutions of the planets in their orbits; or the situation of a pebble may afford him evidence of the state of the globe he inhabits, myriads of ages ago, before his species became its denizens. And this, is, in fact, one of the great sources of delight which the study of natural science imparts to its votaries. A mind which has once imbibed a taste for scientific inquiry, and has learnt the habit of applying its principles readily to the cases which occur, has within itself an inexhaustible source of pure and exciting contemplations. One would think that Shakspeare had such a mind in view when he describes a contemplative man as finding

„What God sends is welcome.“

— John Herschel
Diary entry (November 1855), as quoted in The Shadow of the Telescope: A Biography of John Herschel by Günther Buttmann

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„God knows how ardently I wish I had ten lives“

— John Herschel
In a letter to Charles Babbage, as quoted in The Shadow of the Telescope: A Biography of John Herschel by Günther Buttmann, p. 14

„Self-respect is the cornerstone of all virtue.“

— John Herschel
As quoted in A Toolbox for Humanity : More Than 9000 Years of Thought (2004) by Lloyd Albert Johnson, p. 147

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