Scientists about Creativity and Science

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Great scientists and inventors about creativity

Life is short, the art long (Ars longa, vita brevis).
Hippocrates  (c. 460 BC – c. 370 BC),  ancient Greek physician

After I had addressed myself to this very difficult and almost insoluble problem, the suggestion at length came to me how it could be solved . . . if some assumptions (which are called axioms) were granted me.
Nicolaus Copernicus ( February 19, 1473 –May 24, 1543),  Polish astronomer and mathematician

Passion is the genesis of genius.
Galileo (February 15, 1564 –January 8, 1642), Italian physicist

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.
Galileo

You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself.
Galileo

Doubt is the father of invention .
Galileo

Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so.
Galileo

Nature uses as little as possible of anything.
Johannes Kepler (December 27, 1571 – November 15, 1630), German astronomer and mathematician

I am more exempt and more distant than any man in the world.
Pierre de Fermat (August 17, 1601/1607 –January 12, 1665),  French lawyer

I have found a very great number of exceedingly beautiful theorems.
Pierre de Fermat

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 (December 25, 1642 –March 20, 1727) English physicist

If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.
Isaac Newton

An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.
Isaac Newton

To cease to think creatively is to cease to live.
Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 – April 17, 1790), American politician, scientist, polymath

Genius is only a greater aptitude for patience.
George-Louis Leclerc de Buffon (September 7, 1707 –April 16,1788), French naturalist

Never think that God’s delays are God’s denials. Hold on; hold fast; hold out. Patience is genius.
George-Louis Leclerc de Buffon

The human mind cannot create anything. It produces nothing until having been fertilized by experience and meditation; its acquisitions are the germs of its production.
George-Louis Leclerc de Buffon

It is better to create than to be learned, creating is the true essence of life.
Barthold Georg Niebuhr (August 27, 1776 – January 2, 1831), Danish- German historian and statesman

I must begin with a good body of facts and not from a principle (in which I always suspect some fallacy) and then as much deduction as you please.
Charles Darwin (February 12, 1809 –April 19, 1882), English naturalist

Those who do not know the torment of the unknown cannot have the joy of discovery.
Claude Bernard(July 12, 1813 –February 10, 1878), French physiologist

Music must take rank as the highest of the fine arts – as the one which, more than any other, ministers to the human spirit.
Herbert Spencer (April 27, 1820 –December 8,  1903), English philosopher

Be bold, be bold, and everywhere be bold.
Herbert Spencer

Only when genius is married to science, can the biggest results be produced.
Herbert Spencer

Where observation is concerned, chance favours the prepared mind.
Louis Pasteur (December 27, 1822 – September 28, 1895), French chemist and microbiologist

Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every conceived notion, follow humbly wherever and whatever abysses nature leads, or you will learn nothing.
Thomas Henry Huxley (May 4, 1825 –June 29, 1895), English biologist

To a clear eye the smallest fact is a window through which the infinite may be seen.
Thomas Henry Huxley

Every great advance in natural knowledge has involved the absolute rejection of authority.
Thomas Henry Huxley

The great tragedy of science is the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.
Thomas Henry Huxley

Before you reject an idea, find at least five good things about it.
Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931), American inventor and businessman

There are no rules here. We’re trying to accomplish something!
Thomas Alva Edison

To invent you need a goal, imagination, and a pile of junk.
Thomas Alva Edison

There’s a way to do it better – find it.
Thomas Alva Edison

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.
Thomas Alva Edison

There is always a better way.
Thomas Alva Edison

There is far more opportunity than there is ability.
Thomas Alva Edison

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
Thomas Alva Edison

I find out what the world needs. Then I go ahead and try to invent it
Thomas Alva Edison

Keep on the lookout for novel ideas that others have used successfully. Your idea has to be original only in its adaptation to the problem you’re working on.
Thomas Alva Edison

Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.
Thomas Alva Edison

Vision without execution is hallucination.
Thomas Alva Edison

The three great essentials to achieve anything worth while are: Hard work, Stick-to-itiveness, and Common sense.
Thomas Alva Edison

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
Thomas Alva Edison

I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun.
Thomas Alva Edison

Be courageous. I have seen many depressions in business. Always America has emerged from these stronger and more prosperous. Be brave as your fathers before you. Have faith! Go forward!
Thomas Alva Edison

The most necessary task of civilization is to teach people how to think. It should be the primary purpose of our public schools. The mind of a child is naturally active, it develops through exercise. Give a child plenty of exercise, for body and brain. The trouble with our way of educating is that it does not give elasticity to the mind. It casts the brain into a mold. It insists that the child must accept. It does not encourage original thought or reasoning, and it lays more stress on memory than observation.
Thomas Alva Edison

Great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds.
Alexander Graham Bell (March 3, 1847 – August 2, 1922), American  scientist and inventor

When one door closes another door opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.
Alexander Graham Bell

Invention is the most important product of man’s creative brain. The ultimate purpose is the complete mastery of mind over the material world, the harnessing of human nature to human needs.
Nikola Tesla (July 10, 1856 –January 7, 1943), Serbian-American inventor, engineer and physicist

The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. No big laboratory is needed in which to think. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone, that is the secret of invention; be alone, that is when ideas are born. That is why many of the earthly miracles have had their genesis in humble surroundings.
Nikola Tesla

The little engine labors and grows, performs more and more involved operations, becomes sensitive to ever subtler influences and now there manifests itself in the fully developed being — Man — a desire mysterious, inscrutable and irresistible: to imitate nature, to create, to work himself the wonders he perceives.
Inspired to this task he searches, discovers and invents, designs and constructs, and covers with monuments of beauty, grandeur and awe, the star of his birth.
Nikola Tesla

The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone—that is the secret of invention: be alone, that is when ideas are born.
Nikola Tesla

Long ago he recognized that all perceptible matter comes from a primary substance, or a tenuity beyond conception, filling all space, the Akasha or luminiferous ether, which is acted upon by the life-giving Prana or Creative Force, calling into existence, in never ending cycles, all things and phenomena. The primary substance, thrown into infinitesimal whirls of prodigious velocity, becomes gross matter; the force subsiding, the motion ceases and matter disappears, reverting to the primary substance.
Nikola Tesla

To create and to annihilate material substance, cause it to aggregate in forms according to his desire, would be the supreme manifestation of the power of Man’s mind, his most complete triumph over the physical world, his crowning achievement, which would place him beside his Creator, make him fulfill his Ultimate Destiny.
Nikola Tesla

The progressive development of man is vitally dependent on invention. It is the most important product of his creative brain. Its ultimate purpose is the complete mastery of mind over the material world, the harnessing of the forces of nature to human needs.
Nikola Tesla

My brain is only a receiver, in the Universe there is a core from which we obtain knowledge, strength and inspiration. I have not penetrated into the secrets of this core, but I know that it exists.
Nikola Tesla

Great moments are born great opportunity.
Nikola Tesla

If the genius of invention were to reveal to-morrow the secret of immortality, of eternal beauty and youth, for which all humanity is aching, the same inexorable agents which prevent a mass from changing suddenly its velocity would likewise resist the force of the new knowledge until time gradually modifies human thought.
Nikola Tesla

The gift of mental power comes from God, Divine Being, and if we concentrate our minds on that truth, we become in tune with this great power. My Mother had taught me to seek all truth in the Bible.
Nikola Tesla

My method is different. I do not rush into actual work. When I get a new idea, I start at once building it up in my imagination, and make improvements and operate the device in my mind. When I have gone so far as to embody everything in my invention, every possible improvement I can think of, and when I see no fault anywhere, I put into concrete form the final product of my brain.
Nikola Tesla

The mind uses its faculty for creativity only when experience forces it to do so.
Henri Poincare (April 29, 1854 –July 17, 1912), French mathematician, physicist and philosopher

Ideas rose in clouds; I felt them collide until pairs interlocked, so to speak, making a stable combination.
Henri Poincare

Invention consists in avoiding the constructing of useless contraptions and in constructing the useful combinations which are in infinite minority. To invent is to discern, to choose.
Henri Poincare

It is by intuition that we discover and by logic we prove.
Henri Poincaré

It is through science that we prove, but through intuition that we discover.
 Henri Poincaré

The scientist does not study nature because it is useful; he studies it because he delights in it, and he delights in it because it is beautiful.’
Henri Poincaré

Science is built up of facts, as a house is built of stones; but an accumulation of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house.
 Henri Poincaré

Mathematical discoveries, small or great are never born of spontaneous generation They always presuppose a soil seeded with preliminary knowledge and well prepared by labour, both conscious and subconscious.
Henri Poincaré

The mind uses its faculty for creativity only when experience forces it to do so.
Henri Poincaré

It is through science that we prove, but through intuition that we discover.
Henri Poincaré

The pioneer scientist must have a vivid intuitive imagination, for new ideas are not generated by deduction, but by artistically creative imagination.
Max Planck (April 23, 1858 – October 4, 1947), German theoretical physicist

Again and again the imaginary plan on which one attempts to build up order breaks down and then we must try another. This imaginative vision and faith in the ultimate success are indispensable. The pure rationalist has no place here.
Max Planck

Anybody who has been seriously engaged is scientific work of any kind realizes that over the entrance to the gates of the temple of science are written the words: ‘Ye must have faith.’ It is a quality which the scientist cannot dispense with.
Max Planck

An important scientific innovation rarely makes its way by gradually winning over and converting its opponents: What does happen is that the opponents gradually die out.
Max Planck

Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.
Max Planck

An important scientific innovation rarely makes its way by gradually winning over and converting its opponents: What does happen is that the opponents gradually die out.’
Max Planck

The scientist needs an artistically creative imagination.
 Max Planck

There are sadistic scientists who hurry to hunt down error instead of establishing the truth.
Marie Curie (November 7, 1867 –July 4,1934), Polish – French physicist and chemist

It is true that we cannot make a genius. We can only give to teach child the chance to fulfil his potential possibilities.
Maria Montessori (August 31, 1870 – May 6, 1952),  Italian physician and educator

Imagination does not become great until human beings, given the courage and the strength, use it to create.
Maria Montessori

Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.
Albert Einstein (March 14, 1879 –April 18, 1955), German-born theoretical physicist

The music of Mozart is of such purity and beauty that one feels he merely found it — that it has always existed as part of the inner beauty of the universe waiting to be revealed.
Albert Einstein

The significant problems that we face today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking that created them.
Albert Einstein

Imagination is more important than knowledge.
Albert Einstein

A new idea comes suddenly and in a rather intuitive way, but intuition is nothing but the outcome of earlier intellectual experience.
Albert Einstein

Creativity is the residue of time wasted.
Albert Einstein

I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination.
Albert Einstein

I lived in solitude in the country and noticed how the monotony of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.
Albert Einstein

Science will stagnate if it is made to serve practical goals.
Albert Einstein

The legs are the wheels of creativity.
Albert Einstein

Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.
Albert Einstein

To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle requires a creative imagination and marks the real advances in science.
Albert Einstein

To stimulate creativity, one must develop the childlike inclination for play and the childlike desire for recognition.
Albert Einstein

Facts are not science – as the dictionary is not literature.
Martin H. Fischer ( November 10, 1879 – January 19, 1962),  German-born American physician and author

The belief that there is only one truth and that oneself is in possession of it seems to me the deepest root of all evil that is in the world.
Max Born (December 11, 1882 –January 5,1970), German-British physicist

When it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry. The poet, too, is not nearly so concerned with describing facts as with creating images.
Niels Bohr (October 7, 1885 –November 18, 1962), Danish physicist

Your theory is crazy, but it’s not crazy enough to be true.
Niels Bohr

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.”
 Niels Bohr

Observations always involve theory.
Edwin Hubble (November 20, 1889 – September 28, 1953), American astronomer

The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.
Linus Pauling (February 28, 1901 – August 19, 1994), American chemist, biochemist, author

Facts are the air of scientists. Without them you can never fly.
Linus Pauling

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 (September 29, 1901 –November 28,1954), Italian theoretical and experimental physicist

What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.
Werner Karl Heisenberg (December 5, 1901 –February 1, 1976), German theoretical physicist

Every tool carries with it the spirit by which it had been created.
Werner Karl Heisenberg

Even for the physicist the description in plain language will be a criterion of the degree of understanding that has been reached.
Werner Karl Heisenberg

To the extent a person makes, invents or thinks something that is new to him, he may be said to have performed a creative act.
Margaret Mead (December 16, 1901 – November 15, 1978) American cultural anthropologist

Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.
Margaret Mead

We are continually faced with great opportunities which are brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems. Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead

I was brought up to believe that the only thing worth doing was to add to the sum of accurate information in the world.
Margaret Mead

I learned the value of hard work by working hard.
Margaret Mead

In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it’s the exact opposite.’
Paul Dirac (August 8, 1902 – October 20, 1984), English theoretical physicist

Truth in science can be defined as the working hypothesis best suited to open the way to the next better one.
Konrad Lorenz (November 7,1903 – February 27, 1989), Austrian zoologist

It is a good morning exercise for a research scientist to discard a pet hypothesis every day before breakfast. It keeps him young.”
 Konrad Lorenz

There are children playing in the street who could solve some of my top problems in physics, because they have modes of sensory perception that I lost long ago.
J. Robert Oppenheimer (April 22, 1904 – February 18, 1967), American theoretical physicist

The true scientist never loses the faculty of amusement. It is the essence of his being.
J. Robert Oppenheimer

The scientific mind does not so much provide the right answers as ask the right questions.
Claude Levi-Strauss (November 28, 1908 –October 30, 2009), French anthropologist

Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next.
Jonas Salk  (October 28, 1914 – June 23, 1995), American medical researcher

When I worked on the polio vaccine, I had a theory. I guided each [experiment] by imagining myself in the phenomenon in which I was interested. The intuitive realm . . . the realm of the imagination guides my thinking.
Jonas Salk

Thought is constantly creating problems that way and then trying to solve them. But as it tries to solve them it makes it worse because it doesn’t notice that it’s creating them, and the more it thinks, the more problems it creates.
David Bohm (December 20, 1917 –October 27, 1992), American theoretical physicist

I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.
Richard P. Feynman (May 11, 1918 – February 15, 1988),  American theoretical physicist

Science moves with the spirit of an adventure characterized both by youthful arrogance and by the belief that the truth, once found, would be simple as well as pretty.
James D. Watson (born April 6, 1928), American molecular biologist

Problems in science are sometimes made easier by adding complications.
Daniel Dennett (born March 28, 1942), American cognitive scientist and philosopher

I call the age we are entering the creative age because the key factor propelling us forward is the rise of creativity as the primary mover of our economy.
Richard Florida (born 1957), American urban studies theorist

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