Skip to main content

Science and Industry Quotes

If you can’t explain what you’re doing and why you’re doing it to any intelligent layman, that really means that you don’t understand it yourself.
Allan Bromley, former President of the American Physical Society

Communicate and we’ll win in the end.
David Brower, former Director of the Sierra Club

The aim of science is to discover and illuminate truth. And that, I take it, is the aim of literature, whether biography or history or fiction. It seems to me, then, that there can be no separate literature of science.
Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring

In science the credit goes to the man who convinces the world, not to the man to whom the idea first occurs.
Sir Francis Darwin

If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t understand it well.
Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone.
Everything should be as simple as it can be, yet no simpler
Albert Einstein

Even for the physicist, the description in plain language will be a criterion of the degree of understanding that has been reached. Werner Heisenberg (Nobel Prize winner in physics)

The grant proposals that are well written are usually the ones that get the checks.
Dr. Paul (Wyn) Jennings, the National Science Foundation’s Program Director of Graduate Research Traineeships

We need to be writing for Congress and the public. We’ve been too elitist too long. Scientists want their stories in the press, but complain when they are misquoted. You won’t get the support you need if others don’t understand what you’re doing.
Ruth Kirschstein, Acting NIH Director, to her staff

One way to find out if you have succeeded (in writing clearly) is to show your draft to colleagues in other specialties. If they do not understand, neither, very probably, will The Lancet’s staff.
The Lancet

It is impossible to disassociate language from science…To call forth a concept, a word is needed.
Antoine Lavoisier (generally considered to be “the father of modern chemistry”)

Clear writing is an essential ingredient of any communication and especially scientific communication. For example, in Science, we don’t encourage clear writing, we insist on it.
Dr. Alan Leshner, CEO, AAAS

Vague forms of speech have so long passed for mysteries of science; and hard words mistaken for deep learning, that it will not be easy to persuade either those who speak or those who hear them, that they are but a hindrance to true knowledge.
John Locke, 1690

Write for a scientist in another field. Don’t underestimate your readers’ intelligence, but don’t overestimate their knowledge of a particular field. When writing about science, don’t simplify the science; simplify the writing.
Julie Ann Miller, Editor of Science News

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter.
Blaise Pascal

Without the crucial ability to write clearly and forcefully, you will find the process of getting support for your work more difficult. David Porush, author of A Short Guide to Writing about Science, talking about applying for research funds.

If you cannot - in the long run - tell everyone what you have been doing, your doing has been worthless.
Erwin Schrodinger (Nobel Prize winner in physics)

Clarity begins at home.
Edie Schwager, American Medical Writers Association

Whatever is worth saying can be stated in fifty words or less.
Stan Ulam, world-famous mathematician