Nobel Wisdom - 5

Great quotes from Nobel Laureates

By Vamshi Jandhyala in life

September 11, 2020


  1. A curious aspect of the theory of evolution is that everybody thinks he understands it. –Jacques Monod

  2. The purpose of evolution, believe it or not, is beauty. – Joseph Brodsky

  3. The time with which we have to deal is of the order of two billion years. What we regard as impossible on the basis of human experience is meaningless here. Given so much time, the “impossible” becomes possible, the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain. One has only to wait: time itself performs the miracles. – George Wald

  4. One of the elementary rules of nature is that, in the absence of law prohibiting an event or phenomenon it is bound to occur with some degree of probability. To put it simply and crudely: Anything that can happen does happen. – Paul Dirac

  5. Any living cell carries with it the experience of a billion years of experimentation by its ancestors. – Max Delbrück

  6. Evolution consists largely of molecular tinkering-producing new objects from old odds and ends. – François Jacob

  7. We are the products of editing, rather than of authorship. – George Wald

  8. Chance alone is the source of every innovation, of all creation in the biosphere. Pure chance, absolutely free, but blind, is at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolution. – Jacques Monod

  9. Man appears to be the missing link between anthropoid apes and human beings. – Konrad Lorenz

  10. I do not believe that evolution is a well-established fact, but on the contrary, in my view its concepts are largely speculative. – Ernst Chain

  11. For me, faith begins with the realization that a supreme intelligence brought the universe into being and created man. It is not difficult for me to have this faith, for an orderly, intelligent universe testifies to the greatest statement ever uttered: “In the beginning, God.” – Arthur Compton

  12. The best data we have are exactly what I would have predicted had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole, in that the universe appears to have order and purpose. – Arno Penzias

  13. This world is most consistent with purposeful creation. – Arno Penzias


  1. We’ve discovered the secret of life. – Francis Crick

  2. It is time for us to take charge of our own evolution. – James Watson

  3. Some day a child is going to sue its parents for being born. They will say, my life is so awful with these terrible genetic defects and you just callously didn’t find out. – James Watson

  4. It is just a matter of time until we will be able to clone human beings. Then, over the long run, it will no longer be possible to outlaw it. – Eric Wieschaus

  5. Actually we do quite a lot of cloning of persons already. We do it in institutions called armies, schools; we try to make everybody a standard issue. – Sydney Brenner

  6. I was asked at a lecture by someone in the audience who said, why can’t I clone myself and keep the copies as spare parts? And my answer was, be careful, one of the copies might keep you for spare parts. – Sydney Brenner


  1. The lot of both man and nature could improve if there were fewer people and more wild animals. – Murray Gell-Mann

  2. The world could get along very well without literature; it could get along even better without man. – Jean-Paul Sartre

  3. Astronomers say we have another two billion years before Earth is too hot to live on. If we could begin to engage this question, we might be guided to a suitable stewardship for our planet, and it might look a little different from the plans that are being made today. – John C. Mather

  4. Let there be no doubt about the conclusions of the scientific community: the threat of global warming is very real and action is needed immediately. It is a grave error to believe that we can continue to procrastinate. Scientists do not believe this and no one else should either. – Henry Kendall

  5. The growth of an impersonal concrete jungle directly leads to the psychosis, neuroses, maniacal and freakish behaviour evident in the major cities of the so-called developed world. – Wangari Maathai


  1. God used beautiful mathematics in creating the world. – Paul Dirac

  2. Mathematics is just a tool to guide our intuition. – Arno Penzias

  3. As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality. – Albert Einstein

  4. The physicists defer only to the mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God (though you may be hard pressed to find a mathematician that modest). – Leon Lederman

  5. The official photographer informed me that I was the 137th Nobel laureate of whom he has had to make a portrait. Certainly all of you know that 137 is a magic, quasi-mystical number in physics. It is equal to the velocity of light times the reduced Planck constant divided by the square of the electron charge! This number governs the size of all objects in the Universe. Some people claim that if this value were to be slightly different life would not be possible. – Georges Charpak


  1. All our lauded technological progress—our very civilization—is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal. – Albert Einstein

  2. Our society is permeated not by science, but by an exploitative distortion of science-based technology, as irrational as the irrational aspects of religion. – Salvador Luria

  3. For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled. – Richard Feynman

  4. All the information that man has carefully accumulated in all the books in the world can be written . . . in a cube of material one two-hundredth of an inch wide—which is the barest piece of dust that can be made out by the human eye. – Richard Feynman

  5. Today, we are already working on tiny minicomputers with completely new kinds of chips . . . With these, we might be able to construct devices that work even faster than the fastest computers of today but that are nevertheless so small that we can build them directly into our bodies or our brains. – Gerd Binnig

  6. It is time the American people were told frankly that the present space program is technically impressive, scientifically trivial, culturally misguided, and socially preposterous. – Salvador Luria

  7. The automobile is a peculiarly fertile species that reproduces freely and appears to have no natural enemies sufficiently powerful to hold its growth in check. – Glenn Seaborg

  8. You can see the computer age everywhere but in productivity statistics.


  1. My advice to anybody wanting to be a physician is to love people and like taking care of them. – Joseph Murray

  2. The microbe that felled one child in a distant continent yesterday can reach yours today and seed a global pandemic tomorrow. – Joshua Lederberg


  1. Hunger makes a thief of any man. – Pearl S. Buck

  2. The first essential component of social justice is adequate food. – Norman Borlaug

  3. You can’t build peace on empty stomachs. – John BoydOrr

  4. Some people eat too much; some people eat too little. Nothing else about diet really matters. – Kary Mullis

  5. I did not become a vegetarian for my health, I did it for the health of the chickens. – Isaac Bashevis Singer


  1. A man shouldn’t fool with booze until he’s fifty; then he’s a damn fool if he doesn’t. – William Faulkner

  2. When I was younger I made it a rule never to take a strong drink before lunch. It is now my rule never to do so before breakfast. – Winston Churchill

  3. A man takes to drink, a drink takes another, and the drink takes the man. – Sinclair Lewis

  4. The case for prohibiting drugs is exactly as strong and as weak as the case for prohibiting people from overeating. We all know that overeating causes more deaths than drugs do. – Milton Friedman

  5. If you look at the drug war from a purely economic point of view, the role of the government is to protect the drug cartel. – Milton Friedman

  6. I have estimated statistically that the prohibition of drugs produces, on the average, ten thousand homicides a year. It’s a moral problem that the government is going around killing ten thousand people. – Milton Friedman


  1. If the dead could speak, there would be no more war. – Heinrich Böll

  2. War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other’s children. – Jimmy Carter

  3. War almost invariably brings instant popularity to the President. – Jimmy Carter

  4. The force which makes for war does not derive its strength from the interested motives of evil men; it derives its strength from the disinterested motives of good men . . . The world which goes to war is a world usually, genuinely desiring peace. War is the outcome, not mainly of evil intentions, but on the whole, of good intentions which miscarry or are frustrated. It is made, not usually by evil men knowing themselves to be wrong, but is the outcome of policies pursued by good men usually passionately convinced that they are right. – Norman Angell

  5. The world has had ample evidence that war begets only conditions that beget further war. – Ralph Bunche

  6. I know war as it is, not through reading about it . . . Supporters of peace have a duty and a task. It is to point out, over and over again, there is nothing heroic in war but that it brings terror and misery to mankind. – Carl von Ossietzky

  7. Military cemeteries in every corner of the world are silent testimony to the failure of national leaders to sanctify human life. – Yitzhak Rabin

  8. find war detestable but even more detestable are those who praise war without participating in it. – Romain Rolland

  9. When the rich make war, it’s the poor who die. – Jean-Paul Sartre

  10. Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime. Ask the infantry and the dead. – Ernest Hemingway

  11. It is impossible to defend ourselves unless on occasion we are prepared to defend others. – Norman Angell

  12. A sword is needed to conquer a sword. – Albert Camus

  13. Aggression unopposed becomes a contagious disease. – Jimmy Carter

  14. Moral of the Work. In war: resolution. In defeat: defiance. In victory: magnanimity. In peace: goodwill. – Winston Churchill

  15. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival. – Winston Churchill

  16. This was a time when it was equally good to live or die. – Winston Churchill

  17. We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender. – Winston Churchill

  18. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory because it is better to perish than to live as slaves. – Winston Churchill

  19. Don’t hit at all if you can help it; don’t hit a man if you can possibly avoid it; but if you do hit him, put him to sleep. – Theodore Roosevelt


  1. Of all its inventions, there is none which the human race has gone to greater lengths to perfect than its means of mass destruction of its fellow men. – Henri Dunant

  2. The distinction between offensive and defensive arms was a very simple one. If you were in front of them, they were offensive; if you were behind them, they were defensive. – Lester Pearson

  3. If sunbeams were weapons of war, we would have had solar energy centuries ago. – George Porter

  4. Peaceful conditions in the world are not welcome to the arms industry. – Seán MacBride

  5. No civilization has ever willingly given up its most powerful weapons. – Mohamed El Baradei

  6. The conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerrilla wins if he does not lose. – Henry Kissinger

  7. The spiritual life of the soldier is more important than his physical equipment. – George C. Marshall


  1. Our generation has succeeded in stealing the fire of the gods, and it is doomed to five with the horror of its achievement. – Henry Kissinger

  2. I thank God on bended knees that we did not make the uranium bomb. – Otto Hahn

Remark on learning of the Hiroshima bomb, August 6,1945, while in British custody with other German physicists


  1. We must learn to live together as brothers, or we shall perish together as fools. – Martin Luther King

  2. We prepare for war like precocious giants and for peace like retarded pygmies. – Lester Pearson

  3. What we need is Star Peace and not Star Wars. – Mikhail Gorbachev

  4. If you desire peace, cultivate justice, but at the same time cultivate the fields to produce more bread; otherwise, there will be no peace. – Norman Borlaugh

  5. The struggle for peace and the struggle for human rights are inseparable. – Willy Brandt

  6. You don’t make peace with your friends. You make it with very unsavoury enemies. – Yitzhak Rabin

  7. If man does find the solution for world peace, it will be the most revolutionary reversal of his record we have ever known. – George C. Marshall

  8. Those who can win a war well can rarely make a good peace, and those who could make a good peace would never have won the war. – Winston Churchill

  9. The desire for peace is the mark of all civilized men and women. – Henry Kissinger

  10. If history teaches anything it is that there can be no peace without equilibrium and no justice without restraint. – Henry Kissinger

  11. Whenever peace—conceived as the avoidance of war—has been the primary objective of a power or a group of powers, the international system has been at the mercy of the most ruthless member. – Henry Kissinger

  12. All works of love are works of peace. – Mother Teresa

  13. People who are offering revenge, they are just an enemy. But when you offer peace and love that infuriates people. And you get killed for that. That’s why Christ is killed, that’s why King is shot, that’s why Gandhi is killed. – Derek Walcott

  14. My country is a country of teachers. It is therefore a country of peace. We discuss our successes and failures in complete freedom. Because our country is a country of teachers, we closed the army camps and our children go with books under their arms, not with rifles on their shoulders. We believe in dialogue, in agreement, in reaching a consensus. We reject violence. Because my country is a country of teachers, we believe in convincing our opponents, not defeating them. We prefer raising the fallen to crushing them, because we believe that no one possesses the absolute truth. Because mine is a country of teachers, we seek an economy in which men cooperate in a spirit of solidarity, not an economy in which they compete to their own extinction. – Oscar Arias Sánchez

Last Words

  1. Never was there a time in my life when I had so much to live for—and so much to die for. – Frederick Banting

  2. It has been a good journey—well-worth making once. – Winston Churchill

  3. I want to go when I want. It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share; it is time to go. I will do it elegantly. – Albert Einstein

  4. I am seeking to understand. – Jacques Monod

  5. It seems to me that I have found what I wanted. When I try to put all into a phrase, I say, “Man can embody truth, but he cannot know it.” – William Butler Yeats