"Our chances of thriving as a species depend on tending and feeding knowledge. We have to take the long view. It is hard to think of practical applications of the black hole. Because practical applications are so remote, many people assume we should not be interested. But this quest to understand the world is what defines us as human beings."--Yuri Milner, Russian physicist and businessman
What science is telling us is that monsoons are going to get more variable and more intense, which means that it may rain less often but when it rains, it’s going pour. It’s not headline news, because you won’t catch it as a city going down. But it’s about people’s lives. Farmers will have too much water when they are planting, but have less water for their crops when they need it. That’s a scale which people ignore, because it’s all in small stories.--Sunita Narain, environmentalist
"We humans are embarking on a marvelous new quest: the quest to explore the warped side of the universe—objects and phenomena that are made from warped spacetime. Colliding black holes and gravitational waves are our first beautiful examples. I do hope that this kind of science will catch the public fancy and help to reignite an interest in science. If you have somebody who's brilliant and highly creative with a different point of view than you have, and a very different intellectual background, great things can happen." --Dr. Kip Thorne, astrophysicist
When Dame* Jocelyn Bell Burnell discovered the first pulsar (pulsating radio star) in 1967, all she could deduce for certain was that there was a very regular series of signals, a little over a second apart, and that they were coming from the sky. Only when the second one appeared in the data was she sure of what she had found.
“That was the sweet moment. That’s when the oddity began to take on the features of a discovery. Once I’d seen one scruffy signal, I was open to seeing more.”
Within days she found the first four pulsars ever discovered by human beings.
* She is a British citizen, knighted in 2007.
In 1965, astronomer Vera Rubin became the first woman permitted to observe at the Palomar Observatory, home to the most powerful telescopes at the time. So began her pioneering work on galaxy rotation.
"I hope 500 years from now astronomers still aren’t talking about the same models we have today. I think they won’t have done their work if they are. I still believe there may be many really fundamental things about the universe that we don’t know. I think our ignorance is greater than our knowledge. I wouldn’t put us at the 50-50 point of knowledge about the universe."
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos thinks creating a real space age will unleash a new era of creativity and ingenuity. He invested in a new company, Blue Origin, to develop and test reusable spacecraft: "I don't want to live in a civilization of stasis. I want to live in a civilization of invention, and growth, and incredible new things. And I'm very confident it's the only way--you have to go to space."
"It is easy to find the world dreary and empty of interest unless you have the knowledge and curiosity to see how intrigue and beauty abounds. We’re born with curiosity but we aren't born with knowledge. To be educated is to have the means to shape and enhance your mental experiences." --Dani C. Quinn, Math Teacher, Barfield, Yorkshire, United Kingdom
"Having a high IQ doesn't mean you are going to be successful. It just means your brain works faster. It recognizes patterns. It can reach conclusions quickly. I’m laughing at jokes as soon as the punch line comes out; I multitask and boredom is my nemesis. I’m always doing five things at once and I don't understand why the people around me get upset."--Leon Feingold, Real estate broker, minor-league pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, and President of the Greater New York chapter of MENSA.