"It is a strange thought, but I believe a correct one, that twenty or thirty pages of ideas and information would be capable of turning the present-day world upside down, or even destroying it. I have often tried to conceive of what those pages might contain, but of course I am a prisoner of the present-day world, just as all of you are. We cannot think outside the particular patterns that our brains are conditioned to, or, to be more accurate, we can only think a very little way outside, and then only if we are very original."
- Fred Hoyle, Of Men and Galaxies
Some people who have distinguished themselves by their originality, tenacity and honour:
"... Supposing that the bodies act upon the surrounding space causing curving of the same, it appears to my simple mind that the curved spaces must react on the bodies, and producing the opposite effects, straightening out the curves. Since action and reaction are coexistent, it follows that the supposed curvature of space is entirely impossible - But even if it existed it would not explain the motions of the bodies as observed. Only the existence of a field of force can account for the motions of the bodies as observed, and its assumption dispenses with space curvature. ALL LITERATURE ON THIS SUBJECT IS FUTILE AND DESTINED TO OBLIVION." — Nikola Tesla
“The reasons for such an irrational, Pavlovian-like stance of the Establishment towards the environmental perspectives of TSEs probably hangs upon issues that are more to do with protecting academic egos, professional reputations and the vested interests of the TSE institutions/key advisors, than with promoting sound scientific argument. But the main reason must undoubtedly stem from the fear of massive compensation claims, should issues such as government mandated use of copper chelating ‘OP warblecides’ .."
"When we review the evolution of modern physical theory to appraise the direction in which we are now moving as a preliminary to charting a different course, it is apparent that the outstanding general trend in the theoretical development has been the gradual loosening of the ties between fundamental theory and the facts of everyday life. Beginning with Einstein's introduction of the concept of physical quantities whose actual magnitude varies with the position of the observer, the divergence has increased at an ever accelerating rate until the latest theoretical developments have passed completely beyond the bounds of objective reality and have placed the basic processes of nature in what Bridgman calls "a shadowy domain which he (the physicist) cannot even mention without logical inconsistency.""
"The difference between myth and science is the difference between divine inspiration of 'unaided reason' (as Bertrand Russell put it) on the one hand and theories developed in observational contact with the real world on the other. It is the difference between the belief in prophets and critical thinking, between Credo quia absurdum (I believe because it is absurd–Tertullian) and De omnibus est dubitandum (Everything should be questioned–Descartes). To try to write a grand cosmical drama leads necessarily to myth. To try to let knowledge substitute ignorance in increasingly large regions of space and time is science. "
"When an old and distinguished person speaks to you, listen to him carefully and with respect - but do not believe him. Never put your trust into anything but your own intellect. Your elder, no matter whether he has gray hair or has lost his hair, no matter whether he is a Nobel laureate - may be wrong. The world progresses, year by year, century by century, as the members of the younger generation find out what was wrong among the things that their elders said. So you must always be skeptical - always think for yourself."
"I will start very naively by a definition of what a scientist is. He is a person who will judge a matter purely by its scientific merits. His judgment will be unaffected by the evaluation that he makes or the judgment that others would make. He will be unaffected by the historical evaluation of the subject. His judgment will depend only on the evidence as it stands at the present time. The way in which this came about is irrelevant for the scientific judgment; it is what we now know today that should determine his judgment. His judgment is unaffected by the perception of how it will received by his peers and unaffected by how it will influence his standing, his financial position, his promotion - any of these personal matters. If the evidence appears to him to allow several different interpretations at that time, he will carry each on of those in his mind, and as new evidence comes along, he will submit each new item of evidence to each of the possible interpretations, until a definitive decision can be made. That is my naive definition of a scientist. "
"The modern astrophysical concept that ascribes the sun's energy to thermonuclear reactions deep in the solar interior is contradicted by nearly every observable aspect of the sun. "
"... Now this turned out in retrospect to be, I suppose you say, a political mistake, because the people in Washington were very much influenced by the bulk of the opinion which held that breeder meant fast breeder. Breeder meant sodium cooling. Breeder meant heterogeneous solid fuel element, and for the upstarts in the little town of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, to claim, now wait a minute, there's another way to go, and this is based on thorium, is based on liquid fuel, that was too far out of the mainstream, and so the thorium breeder, although it was mentioned quite prominently in this 1962 report by the Atomic Energy Commission the thorium breeder never received the political support and the organizational support within the Atomic Energy Commission that the fast breeder received. And therefore, the thorium breeder always has been, until I suppose rather recently, a second-class citizen. What is going to happen now, I don't know. I often have asked myself now why was it t his beautiful idea we really had, these wonderful things about these fluid fuels and so on, why is it that the powers that be in the Atomic Energy Commission never quite took the matter fully seriously. And I think the answer is, that the technology of fluid fuel is so different from the technology of solid fuel, the whole question of the maintainability of the system is so many orders of magnitude different than the problem of maintainability of the solid systems, that the people who were prepared to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on fast reactors just couldn't make that jump."