George Wald

Born: November 18, 1906

Die: April 12, 1997

Occupation: Scientist

Quotes of George Wald

George Wald

There are only two possible explanations as to how life arose: Spontaneous generation arising to evolution or a supernatural creative act of God.... There is no other possibility. Spontaneous generation...

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George Wald

Most modern biologists, having reviewed with satisfaction the downfall of the spontaneous generation hypothesis, yet unwilling to accept the alternative belief in special creation, are left with nothing.

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George Wald

One has only to contemplate the magnitude of this task to concede that the spontaneous generation of a living organism is impossible. Yet here we are-as a result, I believe, of spontaneous generation.

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George Wald

When it comes to the origin of life there are only two possibilities: creation or spontaneous generation. There is no third way. Spontaneous generation was disproved one hundred years ago, but that leads...

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George Wald

The Vietnamese have a secret weapon. It's their willingness to die beyond our willingness to kill. In effect, they've been saying, You can kill us, but you'll have to kill a lot of us; you may have to...

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George Wald

I tell my students to try early in life to find an unattainable objective.

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George Wald

When you have no experience of pain, it is rather hard to experience joy.

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George Wald

Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.

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George Wald

Death seems to have been a rather late invention in evolution. One can go a long way in evolution before encountering an authentic corpse.

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George Wald

Evolution advances, not by a priori design, but by the selection of what works best out of whatever choices offer. We are the products of editing, rather than of authorship.

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George Wald

If the germ plasm wants to swim in the ocean, it makes itself a fish; if the germ plasm wants to fly in the air, it makes itself a bird. If it wants to go to Harvard, it makes itself a man. The strangest...

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George Wald

I have lived much of my life among molecules. They are good company. I tell my students to try to know molecules, so well that when they have some question involving molecules, they can ask themselves,...

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George Wald

Our challenge is to give what account we can of what becomes of life in the solar system, this corner of the universe that is our home; and, most of all, what becomes of men-all men, of all nations, colors,...

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George Wald

We are living in a world in which all wars are wars of defense.

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George Wald

As you lecture, you keep watching the faces, and information keeps coming back to you all the time.

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George Wald

A lecture is much more of a dialogue than many of you probably realize.

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George Wald

Dropping those atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a war crime.

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George Wald

A physicist is an atom's way of knowing about atoms.

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George Wald

The thought that we're in competition with Russians or with Chinese is all a mistake, and trivial. We are one species, with a world to win.

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George Wald

All War Departments are now Defense Departments. This is all part of the doubletalk of our time. The aggressor is always on the other side.

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George Wald

We are the products of editing, rather than of authorship.

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George Wald

There is nothing worth having that can he obtained by nuclear war - nothing material or ideological - no tradition that it can defend. It is utterly self-defeating.

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George Wald

We've committed many war crimes in Vietnam - but I'll tell you something interesting about that. We were committing war crimes in World War II, before the Nuremberg trials were held and the principle of...

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George Wald

It would be a poor thing to be an atom in a universe without physicists, and physicists are made of atoms. A physicist is an atom's way of knowing about atoms.

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George Wald

A peacetime draft is the most un-American thing I know.

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George Wald

A scientist should be the happiest of men.

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George Wald

Our business is with life, not death.

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George Wald

Nuclear weapons offer us nothing but a balance of terror, and a balance of terror is still terror.

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George Wald

The only use for an atomic bomb is to keep somebody else from using one. It can give us no protection-only the doubtful satisfaction of retaliation.

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George Wald

Four elements, Hydrogen, carbon, oxygen and nitrogen, also provide an example of the astonishing togetherness of our universe. They make up the "organic" molecules that constitute living organisms on a...

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George Wald

I tell my students, with a feeling of pride that I hope they will share, that the carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen that make up ninety-nine per cent of our living substance were cooked in the deep interiors...

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George Wald

A scientist lives with all reality. There is nothing better. To know reality is to accept it, and eventually to love it.

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George Wald

A scientist should be the happiest of men. Not that science isn't serious; but as everyone knows, being serious is one way of being happy, just as being gay is one way of being unhappy.

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George Wald

Science goes from question to question; big questions, and little, tentative answers. The questions as they age grow ever broader, the answers are seen to be more limited.

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George Wald

A scientist is in a sense a learned small boy. There is something of the scientist in every small boy. Others must outgrow it. Scientists can stay that way all their lives.

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George Wald

About two million years ago, man appeared. He has become the dominant species on the earth. All other living things, animal and plant, live by his sufferance. He is the custodian of life on earth, and...

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George Wald

Every creature alive on the earth today represents an unbroken line of life that stretches back to the first primitive organism to appear on this planet; and that is about three billion years.

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George Wald

I think if a physician wrote on a death certificate that old age was the cause of death, he'd be thrown out of the union. There is always some final event, some failure of an organ, some last attack of...

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George Wald

Not all living creatures die. An amoeba, for example, need never die; it need not even, like certain generals, fade away. It just divides and becomes two new amoebas.

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George Wald

We have fallen in love with the body. That's that thing that looks back at us from the mirror. That's the repository of that lovely identity that you keep chasing all your life.

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George Wald

I have often had cause to feel that my hands are cleverer than my head. That is a crude way of characterizing the dialectics of experimentation. When it is going well, it is like a quiet conversation with...

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George Wald

There was a golden period that I look back upon with great regret, in which the cheapest of experimental animals were medical students. Graduate students were even better. In the old days, if you offered...

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George Wald

I can conceive of no nightmare so terrifying as establishing communication with a so-called superior (or, if you wish, advanced) technology in outer space.

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“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”

― Dr. Seuss