Leonard Mlodinow · 352 pages
Rating: (1K votes)
“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
“A dwarf standing on the shoulders of a giant may see farther than a giant himself”
“Robert Frost wrote in 1914, “Why abandon a belief / Merely because it ceases to be true.”
“Paleolithic humans migrated often, and, like my teenagers, they followed the food.”
“most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible.”
“I wouldn’t have to drop out of academia and take a more lucrative position waiting tables at the faculty club.”
“Well, I have been working on my own theory for twelve years,” and then he proceeded to describe it in excruciating detail. When he was finished, Feynman turned to me and said, in front of the man who had just proudly described his work, “That’s exactly what I mean about wasting your time.”
“Chemicals were easier to procure than friends, and when I wanted to play with them they never said they had to stay home to wash their hair or, less politely, that they didn’t associate with weirdos.”
“A dwarf on a giant’s shoulders sees farther of the two”
“A pygmy upon a gyants shoulder may see farther than the [giant] himself.”
“Our species had to engage in complex cooperative behavior in order to survive in the wild, and—as I keep reminding my teenage children—pointing and grunting get you only so far.”
“German authorities saw the need for a statute explicitly forbidding anyone associated with the university from drenching freshmen with urine,”
“Leipzig that the university had to pass a rule against throwing stones at professors.”
“a thousand years without a bath.”
“if a lecture was not interesting or proceeded too slowly or too quickly, they would jeer and become rowdy.”
“the invention of mummification. This was believed to be the key to a happy afterlife; certainly there were no disgruntled customers coming back to say otherwise.”
“paleontological evidence suggests that the early farmers had more spinal issues, worse teeth, and more anemia and vitamin deficiencies—and died younger—than the populations of human foragers who preceded them.”
“research on hunter-gatherer groups ranging from the nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries shows that the average nomad worked just two to four hours each day.”
“discovering that hunter-gatherers had constructed Göbekli Tepe was like finding that someone had built a 747 in a basement with an X-Acto knife.”
“Upon learning of the young man’s interest in a physics book, Lindemann, a number theorist, abruptly ended the interview, saying, “In that case you are completely lost to mathematics.”
“Stephen Hawking once told me that there was a sense in which he was glad to be paralyzed, because it allowed him to focus much more intensely on his work.”
“Michael Jordan once said, “I’ve missed more than nine thousand shots in my career. I’ve lost almost three hundred games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
“Newton was “not finally reducible to the criteria by which we comprehend our fellow human beings.”
“theory produces a good deal but hardly brings us closer to the secret of the Old One. I am at all events convinced that He does not play dice.”
“They required three thousand Jews, the man said, and the line had apparently held 3,004.”
“the destination was the local cemetery, where everyone was ordered to dig a mass grave and then was shot dead and buried in it.”
“My father had drawn number 3,004 in a death lottery in which German precision trumped Nazi brutality.”
“Pauli turned to the audience and argued, “Yes, my theory is crazy enough!” Then Bohr insisted, “No, your theory is not crazy enough!”
“Heisenberg, who was attempting to hold German physics together, resented Schrödinger’s departure, “since he was neither Jewish nor otherwise endangered.”
“Einstein, who was then a professor in Berlin, was by chance visiting Caltech in the United States the day Hitler was appointed.”
“Totalitarian systems are notably devoid of humor at every level. Laughter, which brings acceptance and freedom, is a threat to their rule through force and intimidation. It is hard to oppress people who have a good sense of humor. Beware the humorless, whether in a person, institution, or belief system; it is always accompanied by an impulse to control and dominate, even if its proclaimed objective is to create prosperity or peace.”
“To live (as I understand it) is to exist within a conception of time.
But to remember is to vacate the very notion of time.
Every memory, no matter how remote its subject, takes place 'Now,' at the moment it's called to the mind.
The more something is recalled, the more the brain has a chance to refine the original experience.
Because every memory is a re-creation, not a playback.”
“idea the situation was so bad until I asked each committee member to present a status report at our meeting this morning.”
“They don't have to choose either/or. They can have their cake and mutilate it too.”
“And you know once a man has fished, or watched the thrushes hovering in flocks over the village in the bright, cool, autumn days, he can never really be a townsman, and to the day of his death he will be drawn to the country.”
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