Quotes by Abraham Pais

Abraham Pais

Dutch-American physicist

Alive from: 1918-2000

Quotes 1 till 11 of 11.

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    A number of current theoretical explorations will turn out to be passing fancies...
    Source: Inward Bound : Of Matter and Forces in the Physical World (1988) p. 45
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    Deliberately or not, every author is of course present in every book he or she writes - even in a scientific text.
    Source: A Tale of Two Continents (1997) p. xv
  • Abraham Pais
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    I knew all the time I was going to get through the war. It was completely irrational, a silly idea, but I was not going to lie down and get myself killed. I was going to get out of it.
    Source: To Save A Life : Stories of Holocaust Rescue (2000)
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    I spent every night until four in the morning on my dissertation, until I came to the point when I could not write another word, not even the next letter. I went to bed. Eight o'clock the next morning I was up writing again.
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    Of course, relative citation frequencies are no measure of relative importance. Who has not aspired to write a paper so fundamental that very soon it is known to everyone and cited by no one?.
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    Once I even took the train to Utrecht, forty miles from Amsterdam, with my yellow star, this star which I still have. Why did I go? I just wanted to visit some friends. I was a little bit crazy, a little bit insane.
  • Abraham Pais
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    One of the absolute rules I learned in the war was, don't know anything you don't need to know, because if you ever get caught they will get it out of you.
    Source: To Save A Life : Stories of Holocaust Rescue (2000)
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    One of the things I learned, one of the strangest things, is how to think. There was nothing else to do. I couldn't see people, or go for a walk in the forest. All I had was my head and my books, and I thought a lot.
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    Progress leads to confusion leads to progress and on and on without respite. Every one of the many major advances - created sooner or later, more often sooner, new problems. These confusions, never twice the same, are not to be deplored. Rather, those who participate experience them as a privilege.
    Source: Inward Bound: Of Matter and Forces in the Physical World (1988)
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    The rule of the game was never assume that anybody, however honorable, would be able to stand up under torture. If Mr. X, who knew where I was, was caught for some reason, I should move.
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    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.
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