Paliy Lab
Diggs Laboratory for Life Science Research : Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology : Wright State University

  • Diseased science: a compilation of maladies affecting scientists [Pdf] - originally published in Microbe magazine (2014, vol. 9, no 10)

  • "Unpublished data do not improve with age" [Wolfe's First Law]

  • "The emotion generated in scientific discussion increases proportionally with the softness of the data being discussed"[Wolfe's Third Law]

  • "The most exciting phrase in science is not 'Eureka!', it is 'Your research grant has been approved'" [John Alejandro King]

  • "An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes, which can be made, in a very narrow field"[Niels Bohr]

  • "No, no, you're not thinking, you're just being logical"[Niels Bohr]

  • "Never express yourself more clearly than you think"[Niels Bohr]

  • "The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible"[Clarke's Second Law]

  • "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic"[Clarke's Third Law]

  • "In science the credit goes to the man who convinces the world, not to the man to whom the idea first occurs"[Francis Darwin][William Osler]

  • "Genius is one per cent inspiration, ninety-nine per cent perspiration"[Thomas Edison]

  • "A scientist is a mimosa when he himself has made a mistake, and a roaring lion when he discovers a mistake of others"[Albert Einstein]

  • "Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts"[Richard Feynman]

  • "Why think? Why not try the experiment?"[John Hunter]

  • "We haven't got the money, so we've got to think!"[Ernest Rutherford]

  • "The great tragedy of science - the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact"[Thomas Huxley]

  • "Student asks Einstein: "Dr Einstein, aren't these the same questions as last year's final exam?"

    Albert Einstein: Yes, but this year the answers are different.

  • "Q: How many scientists does it take to change a light bulb?"

    A1: None. They use them as controls.
    A2: Five: One to write the grant proposal, one to do the mathematical modelling, one to type the research paper, one to submit the paper for publishing, and one to hire a student to do the work.
    A3: Five; one to change the lightbulb, the other four to stand around arguing whether he/she is taking the right approach.

  • "You might be a scientist:"

    If the only jokes you receive are through e-mail.
    If you carry on a one-hour debate over the expected results of a test that actually takes five minutes to run.
    If the salespeople at Circuit City can't answer any of your questions.
    If your I.Q. number is higher than your weight.
    If you can remember 7 computer passwords but not your wedding anniversary.
    If you can type 70 words a minute but can't read your own handwriting.
    If your three year old son asks why the sky is blue and you try to explain atmospheric absorption theory.

  • "A brief guide to scientific literature:"

    It has been long known................I haven't bothered to check the references
    It is known...........................I believe
    It is generally believed..............My collegues and I think
    There has been some discussion........Nobody agrees with me
    It can be shown.......................Take my word for it
    Some samples were chosen for study....The others didn't make sense
    Typical results are shown.............The only correct results are shown
    Correct within order of magnitude.....Wrong
    The values were obtained empirically..The values were obtained by accident
    The results are inconclusive..........The results seem to disprove my hypothesis
    Additional work is required...........Someone else can work out the details
    The investigations proved rewarding...My grant has been renewed
    Accidentally strained during mounting.Dropped on the floor
    Handled with extreme care.............Not dropped on the floor
    A definite trend is evident...........These data are practically meaningless
    In our experience.....................Once
    In case after case....................Twice

  • "What used to be called a prejudice is now called a null hypothesis"[AWF Edwards]

  • "If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research"[Albert Einstein]

  • "'Rules' of the lab"

    . When you don't know what you're doing, do it neatly.
    . Experiments must be reproducible, they should fail the same way each time.
    . First draw your curves, then plot your data.
    . Experience is directly proportional to equipment ruined.
    . A record of data is essential, it shows you were working.
    . Do not believe in miracles - rely on them.
    . Team work is essential. It allows you to blame someone else.
    . All unmarked beakers contain fast-acting, extremely toxic poisons.
    . Any delicate and expensive piece of glassware will break before any use can be made of it.

  • "If an experiment works, something has gone wrong "[Finagle's First Law]

  • "If your experiment needs statistics, then you need to design a better experiment"[Ernest Rutherford]

  • "Statistics: The only science that enables different experts using the same figures to draw different conclusions"[Evan Esar]

  • "The farther the experiment is from theory, the closer it is to the Nobel Prize"[Frederic Joliot-Curie]

  • If you have a funny or clever quote you would like to share, please send to

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Dr. Paliy faculty profile
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
School of Medicine
Wright State University
Monday, 24-Jan-2022 01:18:57 EST
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