At any one time there is a natural tendency among physicists to believe that we already know the essential ingredients of a comprehensive theory. But each time a new frontier of observation is broached we inevitably discover new phenomena which force us to modify substantially our previous conceptions. I believe this process to be unending, that the delights and challenges of unexpected discovery will continue always.
... still many physicists are convinced to "see" the particle in a cloud chamber or on a scintillation screen, therefore accepting classical particle coordinates as pieces of reality. But what one concludes to see depends on the chosen model of reality, and this model can only be judged by its success in consistently and economically describing the observations (therefore interpolating between them).h. dieter zeh
In not much over a generation, physicists have changed our world.1981The Physicists (published posthumously).
I don't suppose that applies so much to other physicists; I think it’s a peculiarity of myself that I like to play about with equations, just looking for beautiful mathematical relations which maybe don’t have any physical meaning at all. Sometimes they do.paul dirac
Despite the vision and farseeing wisdom of our wartime heads of state, the physicists have felt the peculiarly intimate responsibility for suggesting, for supporting, and in the end, in large measure, for achieving the realization of atomic weapons. Nor can we forget that these weapons as they were in fact used dramatized so mercilessly the inhumanity and evil of modern war. In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatement can quite extinguish, the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose.j. robert oppenheimer
To make a discovery is not necessarily the same as to understand a discovery. Not only Planck but also other physicists were intially at a loss as to what the proper context of the new postulate really was.abraham pais
I think physicists are the Peter Pans of the human race. They never grow up, and they keep their curiosity.Isidor Isaac Rabi
Chemistry has been termed by the physicist as the messy part of physics, but that is no reason why the physicists should be permitted to make a mess of chemistry when they invade it.frederick soddy
Our relationships as experimentalists with theoretical physicists should be like those with a beautiful woman – we should accept with gratitude any favours she offers, but we should not expect too much nor believe all that is said.lev artsimovich
Theoretical physicists live in a classical world, looking out into a quantum-mechanical world. The latter we describe only subjectively, in terms of procedures and results in our classical domain.john stewart bell
physicists can only talk to other physicists and economists to economists... sociologists often cannot even understand each other.kenneth boulding
The mathematical framework of quantum theory has passed countless successful tests and is now universally accepted as a consistent and accurate description of all atomic phenomena. The verbal interpretation, on the other hand – i.e., the metaphysics of quantum theory – is on far less solid ground. In fact, in more than forty years physicists have not been able to provide a clear metaphysical model.fritjof capra
If physics is too difficult for the physicists, the nonphysicist may wonder whether he should try at all to grasp its complexities and ambiguities. It is undeniably an effort, but probably one worth making, for the basic questions are important and the new experimental results are often fascinating. And if the layman runs into serious perplexities, he can be consoled with the thought that the points which baffle him are more than likely the ones for which the professionals have not found satisfactory answers.edward condon
To physicists such as myself, the huge amount of invisible dark matter needed to make Einstein's theory fit the astrophysical data is reason enough for exploring modified gravity theories.john moffat
Both religion and science require a belief in God . For believers, God is in the beginning , and for physicists He is at the end of all considerations… To the former He is the foundation, to the latter, the crown of the edifice of every generalized world view.max planck
A physicist looks for causes; that does not necessarily imply that there are causes everywhere. A man may look for gold without assuming that there is gold everywhere; if he finds gold, well and good, if he doesn't he's had bad luck. The same is true when the physicists look for causes.bertrand russell
Wisdom is not mathematical, nor astronomical, nor zoological; when it talks too much of any one thing it ceases to be itself. There are wise physicists, but wisdom is not physical; there are wise physicians, but wisdom is not medical.george sarton
The epithet beautiful is used by surgeons to describe operations which their patients describe as ghastly, by physicists to describe methods of measurement which leave sentimentalists cold, by lawyers to describe cases which ruin all the parties to them, and by lovers to describe the objects of their infatuation, however unattractive they may appear to the unaffected spectators.George Bernard Shaw
Chemistry has been termed by the physicist as the messy part of physics, but that is no reason why the physicists should be permitted to make a mess of chemistry when they invade it.Frederick Soddy as quoted in American journal of physics, Volume 14. American Association of Physics Teachers, American Institute of Physics. 1946. p. 248.
While the new physics was developing in the twentieth century, the mechanistic Cartesian world view and the principles of Newtonian physics maintained their strong influence on Western scientific thinking, and even today many scientists still hold to the mechanistic paradigm, although physicists themselves have gone beyond it.Fritjof Capra (1975) The Tao of Physics. p. 93
Both Religion and science require a belief in God. For believers, God is in the beginning, and for physicists He is at the end of all considerations... To the former He is the foundation, to the latter, the crown of the edifice of every generalized world view.Max Planck Religion and Natural Science (Lecture Given 1937)
Quantum theory was split up into dialects. Different people describe the same experiences in remarkably different languages. This is confusing even to physicists.David Finkelstein, in Physical Process and Physical Law, in an edition by Timothy E. Eastman, Hank Keeton (2004). Physics and Whitehead: quantum, process, and experience. SUNY Press. p. 181. ISBN 0791459136.
In the good old days physicists repeated each other's experiments, just to be sure. Today they stick to FORTRAN, so that they can share each other's programs, bugs included.Edsger W. Dijkstra, "How do we tell truths that might hurt?" (1975) EWD498. Published in ACM SIGPLAN Notices 17:5 (May 1982), pp. 13–15.
physicists continue to debate whether Bell's theorem is airtight or not. However, the real question is not whether Bell can prove beyond doubt that reality is non-local, but whether the world is in fact non-local.Nick Herbert Quantum Reality - Beyond The New Physics Chapter 13, The Future Of Quantum Reality, p. 238
physicists use the wave theory on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and the particle theory on Tuesdays, Thursdays and SaturdaysWilliam Henry Bragg; quoted in Dictionary of Scientific Quotations by Alan L. Mackay, Institute of Physics Publishing, Bristol, 1994, p. 37 
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