Sir John Frederick William Herschel (7 March 1792 – 11 May 1871) English scientist, astronomer and mathematician; son of astronomer William Herschel, his discoveries and influence spanned several scientific fields.
- Time! Time! Time! — we must not impugn the Scripture Chronology, but we must interpret it in accordance with whatever shall appear on fair enquiry to be the truth for there cannot be two truths. And really there is scope enough: for the lives of the Patriarchs may as reasonably be extended to 5000 or 50000 years apiece as the days of Creation to as many thousand millions of years.
- Letter to Charles Lyell after being inspired by his Principles of Geology (1830-1833).
- Self-respect is the cornerstone of all virtue.
- As quoted in A Toolbox for Humanity : More Than 9000 Years of Thought (2004) by Lloyd Albert Johnson, p. 147
A Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy (1831)
- Man is constituted as a speculative being; he contemplates the world, and the objects around him, not with a passive indifferent eye, but as a system disposed with order and design.
- To the natural philosopher there is no natural object unimportant or trifling.
- Accustomed to trace the operation of general causes, and the exemplification of general laws, in circumstances where the uninformed and unenquiring eye perceives neither novelty nor beauty, he walks in the midst of wonders.
- Statement about the "natural philosopher", or scientist.
- We must never forget that it is principles not phenomena, — laws, not insulated, independent facts, which are the object and the inquiry of the natural philosopher.
- All human discoveries seem to be made only for the purpose of confirming more and more strongly the truths that come on high and are contained in the sacred writings.
- Music and dancing (the more the pity) have become so closely associated with ideas of riot and debauchery among the less cultivated classes, that a taste for them, for their own sakes, can hardly be said to exist, and before they can be recommended as innocent or safe amusements, a very great change of ideas must take place.
Last modified on 18 March 2013, at 02:20↑Jump back a section
Quotes about Herschel
- What is there in Paradise Lost to elevate and astonish like Herschel or Somerville?
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, quoted in Robert D. Richardson, Jr., Emerson, the Mind On Fire (Univ. of Calif Press 1995), p124
- As an astronomer in the true sense of the term, Sir John Herschel stood before all his contemporaries. Nay, he stood almost alone.
- Richard Anthony Proctor, Astronomical Essays (1872), "Sir John Herschel", p.1