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Engineering & Science Notable Quote Archive #23

Notable Tech Quotes - RF CafeThe number of statements uttered verbally and/or in print is uncountable. Some are more noteworthy than others either because of sheer brilliance, good humor, or utter inanity. We all hope our own remembered words, if any, fall into one of the first two categories rather than the third. I do a lot of reading and find many notable quotes to use that fit the theme of RF Cafe; they fall into all three categories. I always try to verify quotes from original sources or at least from printed books like The Experts Speak, of which I own a hard copy. Enjoy.

Notable Tech Quote Archive

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  • "For God's sake, go down to reception and get rid of a lunatic who's down there. He says he's got a machine for seeing by wireless! Watch him - he may have a razor on him." - Editor of the Daily Express (London), 1925, when TV inventor John Logie Baird came to demonstrate his technology


  • "My dynamite will sooner lead to peace than a thousand world conventions. As soon as men will find that in one instant whole armies can be utterly destroyed, they surely will abide by golden peace." - Alfred B. Nobel, founder of the Nobel Prizes

    3/18/2013  1/10/2019

  • "To my mind, surveillance videos stand to be abused less if ordinary people routinely wear their own video-gathering equipment, so they can watch the watchers with a form of inverse surveillance." – Steve Mann, electronic augmented eyewear pioneer, U. of Toronto Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering


  • "I am tired of all this thing called science... We have spent millions in that sort of thing for the last few years, and it is time it should be stopped." - U.S. Senator Simon Cameron (1861), re funding for the Smithsonian Institution


  • "Reasonable men adapt themselves to the world; unreasonable ones don't - therefore all progress comes from unreasonable men" – George Bernard Shaw as paraphrased by Eli Broad in Inc.


  • "You know what they say: Applied physicists are from Venus; Theoretical physicists wonder why it spins in the other direction." - Dr. Larry Fleinhardt, from NUMB3RS "Sacrifice" episode


  • "In every direction around him, he will rely on other people's knowledge. The bad news is that this engineer will never know all of engineering; the good news is that he doesn't have to. The world doesn't work that way anymore." – Robert Lucky, January 2013 Spectrum


  • "It's really boring when all the measurements and theory agree with each other." - Chad Orzel, associate professor of physics and astronomy at Union College, on discovery that size of proton might be smaller than originally believed.


  • But I think it would be great to be born on Earth and die on Mars. - Elon Musk in November2012 Popular Mechanics


  • "I have an app on my phone that lets me talk to all the people around me. It shuts the phone off." - Mark Simone, talk show guy

    5/23/2019, 12/28/2012

  • "If the Mayans were so good at predicting the future, why aren't the Mayan cites still around?"- Anon  (nor did they predict the coming of Spanish conquistadores - KRB)


  • "I don't care what the majority voted to do, they don't have a right to steal my money just because they vote for it." -- Peter Schiff on CNBC (start video at 4:40)


  • "You could put in this room, de Forest, all the radiotelephone apparatus that the country will ever need." -- W.W. Dean, president of Dean Phone Company, when de Forest pitched his audion tube.


  • "So the curious thing is that in the last century, broadcast was all wireless and personal communication all wired; now it is exactly the reverse..." - Robert W. Lucky, November 2012 Spectrum


  • "[I] chose @ - 'probably saving it from going the same way of the 'cent' sign on computer keyboards'" -- Ray Tomlinson, BBN Technologies engineer who instituted the "@" sign used in e-mail addresses, September 2012 Smithsonian magazine


  • "So few autopsies are being done now that many medical students get out of school never having seen one." - Gregory Davis, U. Kentucky College of Medicine, November 2012 Scientific American. That's as ridiculous as an EE student graduating without ever having to learn to troubleshoot circuits. Oh, wait...


  • "Men are dressing for the office far more seriously, in an effort to maintain a level of job security" -- Steven Faerm, Parsons the New School for Design, in OFA


  • "Jupiter's moons are invisible to the naked eye and therefore can have no influence on the earth, and therefore would be useless, and therefore do not exist." - Francisco Sizzi (Prof. of Astronomy), dismissing Galileo's sighting of the moons. Now there is a prime example of reductio ad absurdum absurdity.


  • "Every so often leaders from business, industry and government sound the alarms about the waning of U.S. scientific and technological prowess and call on academe to produce more graduates. Education leaders at the university level then point an accusatory finger at primary and secondary schools for producing marginal students and at the students themselves for having little interest in science. Yet responsibility rests largely with the universities. They, after all, educated the teachers—the same teachers who seem to have made learning math and science too much like an Olympic triathlon: an ordeal from which few stars emerge." - Michael M. Crow, President, Arizona State University


  • "I Aim at the Stars" Movie Poster - RF Cafe Notable Quote"I aim at the stars... but sometimes I hit London." - Wernher von Braun (erroneously). Often incorrectly misattributed to von Braun (designer of the Saturn V rocket), it was actually the subtitle suggested (but not official) of a 1960 bio film of his life. The line is credited to comedian Mort Sahl alluding to von Braun's work on the V-2 rocket launched against Great Britain during WWII. However, reportedly the line actually is spoken in the film by a newsman.


  • "It is unfortunate that patent law can be manipulated to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners..." - Samsung spokesman re recent lawsuit.


  • "Humans act less precisely. The certainty of an absolutely correct outcome can be lower than with computers. But because humans care about the outcome, they tend to make decisions optimized for survival." - Ken Bowersox, former Shuttle astronaut, commenting on whether the U.S. space program should migrate to total robotics rather than manned missions. September 2012 Air & Space


  • "I do remember being very good at diagramming sentences. Diagramming sentences must have been a precursor to a career drawing state diagrams and schematics." - Bob Davis, RF Cafe contributor


  • "Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet." - POTUS


  • "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" – Arthur C. Clarke


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RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling 2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit design engineer. The World Wide Web (Internet) was largely an unknown entity at the time and bandwidth was a scarce commodity. Dial-up modems blazed along at 14.4 kbps while tying up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got Mail" when a new message arrived...

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