"And in the ages after monsters died, perforce there perished many a stock, unable by propagation to forge a progeny. For whatsoever creatures thou beholdest breathing the breath of life, the same have been even from their earliest age preserved alive by cunning, or by valour, or at least by speed of foot or wing." -- Titus Lucretius Carus On the Nature of Things (50 B.C.), from W. E. Leonard's translation"Before refrigeration, when seafood might be kept a few days in a chilly basement, this phenomenon of glowing decay was observed and noted. Charles Dickens, in A Christmas Carol likens Marley's face in the knocker of Scrooge's door to a glowing lobster: 'Marley's face...had a dismal light about it, like a bad lobster in a dark cellar.' How many nonmicrobiologists have passed over that line, unable to decipher what image Dickens had in mind?" -- Betsey Dexter Dyer in A Field Guide to Bacteria (2003). "Between my two spells as Editor of Nature in 1966-'73 and 1980-'95, the most striking change was the huge increase in competitiveness. In the old days, people would occasionally telephone to say that they were sending a paper and to hope that we'd give it a fair wind; by 1980, authors would call to ask whether their manuscript had arrived, whether it had been sent to referees, why we had declined to publish it, and why it was Nature's consistent practice to rely on referees whose intelligence was below par, whose judgement had been blunted by cynicism and whose parentage must even been in doubt. My colleages and I could never understand why authors did not appreciate an argument that seemed to us undeniable, that a top-class journal can remain so only by being selective." --John Maddox in the preface to Horace Judson's history of molecular biology, The Eighth Day of Creation (1996). "Science is a form of competitive and aggressive activity, a contest of man against man that provides knowledge as a side product. That side product is its only advantage over football." --Richard Lewontin in "Honest Jim" Watson's Big Thriller about DNA (1968) (a review of Watson's The Double Helix) "The Earth is a microbial planet, on which macroorganisms are recent additions -- highly interesting and extremely complex in ways that most microbes aren't, but in the final analysis relatively unimportant in a global context." --Mark Wheelis as quoted by Carl Woese (1998) "Bioinformatics is a mixture of the mundane and the sublime." --Nathan Siemers (2002) "If you want to have good ideas you must have many ideas. Most of them will be wrong, and what you have to learn is which ones to throw away."--Linus Pauling (1901-1994) "The elucidation of the full genomic sequence of humans ... has been referred to as the Rosetta Stone of human biology, which implies that it will allow us to elucidate all of the information encapsulated in this DNA sequence. However, it might be more appropriate to liken the human genomic sequence to the Phaestos Disk: an as yet undeciphered set of glyphs from a Minoan palace on the island of Crete. With regard to understanding the A's, T's, G's, and C's of genomic sequence, by and large, we are functional illiterates." --William M. Gelbart (1998) "But history is made by man. Old Vico said that man can only fully understand what he has made; the corollary to that is, that what man has made he can understand: it will not, like the physical world, remain impervious to his desire to understand. So if we look at history and find in it huge stories, plots identical to the plots of myth and legend, populated by actual people who however bear the symbols and even the names of gods and demons, we need be no more alarmed and suspicious than we would be on picking up a hammer, and finding its grip fit for our hand, and its head balanced for our striking. We are understanding what we have made..."-- Historian/Philosopher Frank Walker Barr in Time's Body (book within a book in John Crowley's 1987 novel Aegypt) "Caprion Bioinformatics is a team of young, dynamic, industry-leading researchers and summer students." --Jason Yen, Caprion's summer student web page designer, gives his unique perspective of the bioinformatics group on an internal web page (2001) "From the beginning of their careers, scientists are presented with a dilemma. They can make their work look as conventional as possible -- just one more brick in the edifice of science -- or as novel and controversial as possible -- declaring a whole new theory or possibly even a whole new science ... From my own reading of the recent history of science, I see no strong correlation between my own estimates of the novelty of an idea and the strategy that an author adopts." --David Hull in Science as a Process (1988). "Basically, the theorist is a lazy person masquerading as a diligent one. He unconsciously obeys the law of minimum effort because it is easier to fashion a theory than to discover a phenomenon." --Santiago Ramn y Cajal in Advice for a Young Investigator (1897, 1920). "Theorists will often complain that experimentalists ignore their work. Let a theorist produce just one theory of the type sketched above (i.e., one that makes non-obvious verified predictions) and the world will jump to the conclusion (not always true) that he has a special insight into difficult problems." --Francis Crick in What Mad Pursuit: A Personal View of Scientific Discovery (1988). "For the command over things natural -- over bodies, medicines, mechanical powers, and infinite other of the kind -- is the one proper and ultimate end of true natural philosophy..." --Francis Bacon in The Sphinx (1597). "Science is not about control. It is about cultivating a perpetual condition of wonder in the face of something that forever grows one step richer and subtler than our latest theory about it. It is about reverence, not mastery." --Dialog from Richard Power's The Goldbug Variations (1992).
(Although this opinion is common among real life as well as fictional scientists (and is not entirely without merit), I find it interesting that it is in exact opposition to that of Francis Bacon, the father of science. --JB)"It looks like human DNA ... But it's missing two chromosomes at the end!" --an astronaut staring at a 3D model of a DNA helix in the less than throughly researched movie Mission to Mars (2000). "Perhaps bioinformatics--the shotgun marriage between biology and mathematics, computer science, and engineering--is like an elephant that occupies a large chair in the scientific living room ... There are probably many biologists who feel that a major product of this bioinformatics elephant is large piles of waste material." --Sylvia J. Spengler in Science Feb. 18, 2000. "Biology occupies a position among the sciences at once marginal and central. Marginal because -- the living world constituting but a tiny and very `special' part of the universe -- it does not seem likely that the study of living beings will ever uncover general laws applicable outside the biosphere. But if the ultimate aim of the whole of science is indeed, as I believe, to clarify man's relationship to the universe, then biology must be accorded a central position..." --Jacques Monod in Chance and Necessity (1971). "It seems to me that, just as the Church did in former times, science offers a safe niche where you can spend a quiet life classifying spiders, away from what E. M. Forster called the world of telegrams and anger." --Max Perutz in Is Science Necessary? (1989). "Four stages of acceptance: i) this is worthless nonsense; ii) this is an interesting, but perverse, point of view; iii) this is true, but quite unimportant; iv) I always said so." --J. B. S. Haldane in Journal of Genetics 58:464 (1963). "An important scientific innovation rarely makes its way by gradually winning over and converting its opponents: it rarely happens that Saul becomes Paul. What does happen is that its opponents gradually die out and that the growing generation is familiarized with the idea from the beginning." -- Max Planck, in The Philosophy of Physics (1936). "...the great tragedy of science - the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact." --Thomas H. Huxley (1825-1895). "As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality." --Albert Einstein (1879-1955).