...It would be possible to make much more progress than has been made if the NCI knew its job better, knew how to make discoveries...The NCI really does not know how to make discoveries....So long as the NCI is not willing to follow up ideas that seem good to people who have had experience making discoveries, the work of the NCI is going to be pedestrian.
We have merely scratched the surface of the store of knowledge which will come to us. I believe that we are now, a-tremble on the verge of vast discoveries - discoveries so wondrously important they will upset the present trend of human thought and start it along completely new lines .
Thomas A. Edison
There's a great difference between knowing that a thing is so, and knowing how to use that knowledge for the good of mankind. Thetrouble with a scientist is we quickly tire of our discoveries. We hand them over to people who are not ready for them, while we go off again into the darkness of ignorance, searching for other discoveries, which will be mishandled in just the same way when the time comes.
It is one of our most exciting discoveries that local discovery leads to a complex of further discoveries. Corollary to this we find that we no sooner get a problem solved than we are overwhelmed with a multiplicity of additional problems in a most beautiful payoff of heretofore unknown, previously unrecognized, & as-yet unsolved problems.
R. Buckminster Fuller
Ah, I fancy it is just the same with most of what you call your emancipation. You have read yourself into a number of new ideas and opinions. You have got a sort of smattering of recent discoveries in various fields - discoveries that seem to overthrow certain principles which have hitherto been held impregnable and unassailable. But all this has only been a matter of intellect, Miss West - superficial acquisition. It has not passed into your blood.
[America] doesn't have an emphasis anymore on original discovery. Everything is based on teaching and learning for tests. Memorizing what you are taught, not on actually making discoveries. People are being treated as herded cattle instead of as human beings capable of making original, creative discoveries.
It is notorious that the same discovery is frequently made simultaneously and quite independently, by different persons. Thus, to speak of only a few cases in late years, the discoveries of photography, of electric telegraphy, and of the planet Neptune through theoretical calculations, have all their rival claimants. It would seem, that discoveries are usually made when the time is ripe for them-that is to say, when the ideas from which they naturally flow are fermenting in the minds of many men.
Hinduism has made marvelous discoveries in things of religion, of the spirit, of the soul. We have no eye for these great and fine discoveries. We are dazzled by the material progress that Western science has made. Ancient India has survived because Hinduism was not developed along material but spiritual lines.
As it is with spiritual discoveries and affections given at first conversion, so it is in all subsequent illuminations and affections of that kind; they are all transforming. There is a like divine power and energy in them as in the first discoveries; they still reach the bottom of the heart, and affect and alter the very nature of the soul, in proportion to the degree in which they are given. And a transformation of nature is continued and carried on by them to the end of life, until it is brought to perfection in glory.
Discoveries are always accidental; and the great use of science is by investigating the nature of the effects produced by any process or contrivance, and of the causes by which they are brought about, to explain the operation and determine the precise value of every new invention. This fixes as it were the latitude and longitude of each discovery, and enables us to place it in that part of the map of human knowledge which it ought to occupy. It likewise enables us to use it in taking bearings and distances, and in shaping our course when we go in search of new discoveries.
Wandering is the activity of the child, the passion of the genius; it is the discovery of the self, the discovery of the outside world, and the learning of how the self is both "at one with" and "separate from" the outside world. These discoveries are as fundamental to the soul as "learning to survive" is fundamental to the body. These discoveries are essential to realizing what it means to be human. To wander is to be alive.
Modesty teaches us to speak of the ancients with respect, especially when we are not very familiar with their works. Newton, who knew them practically by heart, had the greatest respect for them, and considered them to be men of genius and superior intelligence who had carried their discoveries in every field much further than we today suspect, judging from what remains of their writings. More ancient writings have been lost than have been preserved, and perhaps our new discoveries are of less value than those that we have lost.
Physics has entered a remarkable era. Ideas that were once the realm of science fiction are now entering our theoretical — and maybe even experimental — grasp. Brand-new theoretical discoveries about extra dimensions have irreversibly changed how particle physicists, astrophysicists, and cosmologists now think about the world. The sheer number and pace of discoveries tells us that we've most likely only scratched the surface of the wondrous possibilities that lie in store. Ideas have taken on a life of their own.
Certain elements of today's ecological crisis reveal its moral character. First among these is the indiscriminate application of advances in science and technology. Many recent discoveries have brought undeniable benefits to humanity. Indeed, they demonstrate the nobility of the human vocation to participate responsibly in God's creative action in the world. Unfortunately, it is now clear that the application of these discoveries in the fields of industry and agriculture have produced harmful long-term effects.
Pope John Paul II
Even mistaken hypotheses and theories are of use in leading to discoveries. This remark is true in all the sciences. The alchemists founded chemistry by pursuing chimerical problems and theories which are false. In physical science, which is more advanced than biology, we might still cite men of science who make great discoveries by relying on false theories. It seems, indeed, a necessary weakness of our mind to be able to reach truth only across a multitude of errors and obstacles.
Observe that the body of man is confined to a small place; it covers only two spans of earth. But the spirit and mind of man travel to all countries and regions - even through the limitless space of the heavens - surround all that exists, and make discoveries in the exalted spheres and infinite distances. This is because the spirit has no place; it is placeless; and for the spirit the earth and the heaven are as one since it makes discoveries in both.
Taking a look back, one big reqret is, I left Harvard with no real awareness of the awful inequities in the world. The appalling disparities of health and wealth and opportunity that condemned millions of people to the lives of despair. I learned a lot here at Harvard about new ideas and economics, and politics. I got great exposure to the advances being made in the sciences. But humanities greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.
But medicine has long had all its means to hand, and has discovered both a principle and a method, through which the discoveries made during a long period are many and excellent, while full discovery will be made, if the inquirer be competent, conduct his researches with knowledge of the discoveries already made, and make them his starting-point. But anyone who, casting aside and rejecting all these means, attempts to conduct research in any other way or after another fashion, and asserts that he has found out anything, is and has been victim of deception.
It can even be thought that radium could become very dangerous in criminal hands, and here the question can be raised whether mankind benefits from knowing the secrets of Nature, whether it is ready to profit from it or whether this knowledge will not be harmful for it. The example of the discoveries of Nobel is characteristic, as powerful explosives have enabled man to do wonderful work. They are also a terrible means of destruction in the hands of great criminals who lead the peoples towards war. I am one of those who believe with Nobel that mankind will derive more good than harm from the new discoveries.