A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.
Max Planck (1858–1947)
If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations–then so much the worse for Maxwell’s equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation–well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can offer you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.
Arthur Eddington (1882–1944)
I believe that every true theorist is a kind of tamed metaphysicist, no matter how pure a “positivist” he may fancy himself. The metaphysicist believes that the logically simple is also the real. The tamed metaphysicist believes that not all that is logically simple is embodied in experienced reality, but that the totality of all sensory experience can be “comprehended” on the basis of a conceptual system built on premises of great simplicity. The skeptic will say that this is a “miracle creed.”
Albert Einstein (1879–1955)
Hertz’s students were impressed, and wondered what use might be made of this marvelous phenomenon. But Hertz thought his discoveries were no more practical than Maxwell’s. “It’s of no use whatsoever,” he replied. “This is just an experiment that proves Maestro Maxwell was right – we just have these mysterious electromagnetic waves that we cannot see with the naked eye. But they are there.” “So, what next?” asked one of his students. Hertz shrugged. He was a modest man, of no pretensions and, apparently, little ambition. “Nothing, I guess.”
Heinrich Hertz (1857–1894)