Shall we educate ourselves in what is known, and then casting away all we have acquired, turn to ignorance for aid to guide us among the unknown?
The secret is comprised in three words: work, finish, publish.
A man who is certain he is right is almost sure to be wrong.
But still try for who knows what is possible!
The important thing is to know how to take all things quietly.
There’s nothing quite as frightening as someone who knows they are right.
Nothing is too wonderful to be true if it be consistent with the laws of nature.
The lecturer should give the audience full reason to believe that all his powers have been exerted for their pleasure and instruction.
I will simply express my strong belief, that that point of self-education which consists in teaching the mind to resist its desires and inclinations, until they are proved to be right, is the most important of all, not only in things of natural philosophy, but in every department of daily life.
There is no more open door by which you can enter into the study of natural philosophy than by considering the physical phenomena of a candle.
I have far more confidence in the one man who works mentally and bodily at a matter than in the six who merely talk about it.
Bacon in his instruction tells us that the scientific student ought not to be as the ant, who gathers merely, nor as the spider who spins from her own bowels, but rather as the bee who both gathers and produces.
I am no poet, but if you think for yourselves, as I proceed, the facts will form a poem in your minds.
Who would not have been laughed at if he had said in 1800 that metals could be extracted from their ores by electricity or that portraits could be drawn by chemistry.
Among those points of self-education which take up the form of mental discipline, there is one of great importance, and, moreover, difficult to deal with, because it involves an internal conflict, and equally touches our vanity and our ease. It consists in the tendency to deceive ourselves regarding all we wish for, and the necessity of resistance to these desires. It is impossible for any one who has not been constrained, by the course of his occupation and thoughts, to a habit of continual self-correction, to be aware of the amount of error in relation to judgment arising from this tendency. The force of the temptation which urges us to seek for such evidence and appearances as are in favour of our desires, and to disregard those which oppose them, is wonderfully great. In this respect we are all, more or less, active promoters of error. In place of practising wholesome self-abnegation, we ever make the wish the father to the thought: we receive as friendly that which agrees with, we resist with dislike that which opposes us; whereas the very reverse is required by every dictate of common sense.
It is the great beauty of our science, chemistry, that advancement in it, whether in a degree great or small, instead of exhausting the subjects of research, opens the doors to further and more abundant knowledge, overflowing with beauty and utility.