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

Theodore von Karman

Introduction to Compressible Flow

“We call the speed range just below and just above the sonic speed – Mach number nearly equal to one – the transonic range. Hugh Dryden and I invented the word transonic. We had found that a word was needed to denote the critical speed range of which we were talking. We could not agree whether it should be written with one s or two. Dryden was logical and wanted two s’s. I thought it wasn’t necessary and always to be logical in aeronautics, so I wrote it with one s. I introduced the term in this form in a report to the Air Force. I am not sure whether the general who read it knew what it meant, but his answer contained the word, so it seemed to be officially accepted. I well remember this period (1941) when designers were rather frantic because of the unexpected difficulties of transonic flight. They thought the troubles indicated a failure in aerodynamic theory.” Theodore von Karman at Cornell in lecture, 1953.

John von Neumann

“Young man, in mathematics you don’t understand things. You just get used to them.”

Reply, according to Dr. Felix T. Smith of Stanford Research Institute, to a physicist friend who had said “I’m afraid I don’t understand the method of characteristics,” as quoted in The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics (1979) by Gary Zukav, Bantam Books, p. 208, footnote.

Dr. von Karman

“Everyone knows it takes a woman nine months to have a baby. But you Americans think if you get nine women pregnant, you can have a baby in a month.,”

November 1957 – Told to Joseph G. Martin, then Aide-de-Camp to Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Hooks, as Lt. Martin escorted Dr. von Karman from New York City to lead a secret symposium on space flight in Cloudcroft, NM. Sputnik had been launched a month before and every branch of the US military had a separate space program and were desperately trying to get off a successful launch.

Telegram for Meyer

“Mythologists and experimental theologians are needed for the development of a new method of attack” Telegram to Meyer while in trenches after recovery which was mistranslated from “Meteorologists and experimental physicists” where Meyer then traveled and met Fritz Haber (german Gas warfar pioneer)

Meyer

“It would be difficult to create the right mood under the present circumstances, but perhaps by accident another beautiful differential equation will come along again, as it once did when I worked with you.”

Letter from Meyer to Prandtl, May 5, 1918. Ref. no. GOAR:2647, DLR-Gottingen Archives

Aurel Stodola

“The country (Germany) is like a man with a badly upset stomach who has not yet vomited enough,” Aurel Stodola in 1919 on right-wing putsch in Berlin two weeks earlier. CPAE Vol. 9 Dec. 16

“The Kapp Putsch, also known as the Kapp-Luttwitz Putsch after its leaders Wolfgang Kapp and Walther von Luttwitz, was an attempted coup on 13 March 1920 which aimed to undo the German Revolution of 1918-1919, overthrow the Weimar Republic and establish a right-wing autocratic government in its place.”