Lewis Carroll

Another Rule is, when you have written a letter that you feel may possibly irritate your friend, however necessary you may have felt it to so express yourself, put it aside till the next day.
“My second Rule is, don’t fill more than a page and a half with apologies for not having written sooner!”
Eight or Nine Wise Words about Letter-Writing, Lewis Carroll

Rudolf Emil Kalman

“Whenever a model is built, it is always proper to ponder the basic scientific question: is the model really based on the data or is an artifact displaying the prejudices of its creator?” Rudolf Emil Kalman, Kyoto Prize address


An experiment, like every other event which takes place, is a natural phenomenon; but in a scientific experiment the circumstances are so arranged that the relations between a particular set of phenomena may be studied to the best advantage.

James Clerk Maxwell, 1876


You should call it entropy, for two reasons. In the first place your uncertainty function has been used in statistical mechanics under that name, so it already has a name. In the second place, and more important, no one really knows what entropy really is, so in a debate you will always have the advantage.

Suggesting to Claude Shannon a name for his new uncertainty function, as quoted in Scientific American Vol. 225 No. 3, (1971), p. 180.

Qian Xuesen

“An engineering science aims to organize the design principles used in engineering practice into a discipline and thus to exhibit the similarities between different areas of engineering practice and to emphasize the power of fundamental concepts. In short, an engineering science is predominated by theoretical analysis and very often uses the tool of advanced mathematics.”

Qian Xuesen (in English Hsue-Shen Tsien or H.S. Tsien)

Qian Xuesen

“I do not plan to come back. I have no reason to come back. I plan to do my best to help the Chinese people build up the nation to where they can live with dignity and happiness.”

Qian (1955) to reporters after returning to China.

Cited in: “Qian Xuesen dies at 98; rocket scientist helped establish Jet Propulsion Laboratory” Obituary Nov 1, 2009

John von Neumann

“If you say why not bomb them tomorrow, I say why not today? If you say today at five o’ clock, I say why not one o’ clock?”

John von Neumann

As quoted in “The Passing of a Great Mind” by Clay Blair, Jr., in LIFE Magazine (25 February 1957), p. 96