Quote: We haven't any money, so we've got to think (Henry Thomas Tizard 1952; attrib Ernest Rutherford 1952 probably)

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Mon Sep 26 22:24:26 UTC 2011

Dan Goncharoff wrote
> The quote "We are short of money so we must begin to think." is
> commonly attributed to Ernest Rutherford.
> GB snippet has the quote "Why must you always have money? Why can't
> you learn to improvise?" in an article dated 1943 about Rutherford in
> 1919.

Thanks Jon and Dan for pointing out this saying. There is another
version that is attributed in modern times to Winston Churchill and
Ernest Rutherford.

Gentlemen, we have run out of money. Now we have to think.

According to the 1961 citation below, chemist Henry Thomas Tizard
delivered the Messel Memorial Lecture before the Society of Chemical
Industry in 1952 in Aberdeen. Tizard spoke a version of the quotation
that is now attributed to Ernest Rutherford. This 1961 article does
not claim that Tizard was quoting Rutherford. But there is another
unverified cite in 1952 (only visible in snippets) that seems to be
claiming that Tizard was quoting Rutherford.

Title: Henry Thomas Tizard. 1885-1959
Authors: R. V. Jones and William S. Farren
Journal: Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society
Vol. 7, (Nov., 1961), pp. 313-348
Published by: The Royal Society
Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/769415

<Begin excerpt>
His Messel Memorial Lecture before the Society of Chemical Industry in
1952, 'The strategy of science', contains  the most valuable  and
provocative of his surveys of the place of science in the nation's
life. ...

'It is more important now to strengthen our technology than to expand
our science; more important to do things than to write about how they
might be done. Science is not enough. We haven't any money, so we've
got to think.'
<End excerpt>

Here is the unverified extracted text that attributes the quotation to
The Chemical Age: Volume 67
1952 - Snippet view
<Begin extracted text>
... scientists because their discoveries were exploited elsewhere. It
was more important to strengthen our technology than to expand our
science. We must avoid the luxury of employing first-class scientists
on second-class projects. Science was not enough; and he again quoted
Lord Rutherford's words, 'We have not got any money, so we have got to

The President and Mrs. Rogers received and welcomed many distinguished
guests on the occasion of the Society's annual dinner, which was held
in the spacious Elphinstonc Hall of King's College, Aberdeen, on
Wednesday evening .
<End extracted text>

Here is the unverifed extracted text from the 1943 cite that Dan
mentions above. The passage tells an anecdote that suggests that
Rutherford did wish to save money by improvising. But I do not think
that this story would give rise to the quotation. The improvisation
was not practical.

Journal of physics A: Volume 55
Physical Society of London, Institute of Physics and the Physical
Society, Physical Society (Great Britain) - 1943 - Snippet view
So badly had the time been chosen that this precipitated a tempest,
and "Why must you always have money? Why can't you learn to improvise?
Why don't you hang beakers on the ends of the wires and load them by
pouring in water? " I must have been in an unusually obstinate mood
myself, for I ventured to ask him to calculate the size of a beaker
large enough to hold 25 pounds of water, and to guess its probable
cost and almost certain fate. This did the trick; in a few seconds he
laughed, and soon afterwards he was carolling "Onward, Christian
soldiers" as he went on his round. As a matter of fact, his rare bouts
of ill-humour did practically nothing to dispel the cheerful ...


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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