[Ads-l] Niels Bohr Quote

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jul 28 14:43:47 EDT 2017


Further investigation on Google Books snippet view suggests that the quote
in Rozental's 1967 book appears as part of a longer remembrance by Bohr's
colleague Otto Robert Frisch. An earlier version of Frisch's remembrance of
Bohr also appears in the work below (p. 30 or so), though perhaps not with
the "giddy" quote.

Commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of Niels Bohr's first papers on
atomic constitution held in Copenhagen on 8-15 July, 1963: sessions on
atoms and nuclei on Monday, 8 and Tuesday, 9 July 1963
https://books.google.com/books?id=dik2AQAAIAAJ


On Fri, Jul 28, 2017 at 2:32 PM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:

> Stefan Rozental, _Niels Bohr: His Life and Work as Seen by His Friends and
> Colleagues_, 1967, p. 139
> https://books.google.com/books?id=VP1QAAAAMAAJ
> The idea of complementarity was the subject of many discussions. I
> remember one occasion when someone said at the end that it made him quite
> giddy to think about those questions; Bohr immediately replied: "But if
> anybody says he can think about quantum problems without getting giddy,
> that only shows he has not understood the first thing about them."
>
> The "giddy" version also appears in:
> Ruth Moore, _Niels Bohr_, MIT Press, 1985, p. 127
> cited by: _Gaither's Dictionary of Scientific Quotations_
> https://books.google.com/books?id=IOFmZoesMNoC&pg=PA1208
>
>
> On Fri, Jul 28, 2017 at 2:24 PM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> The "shocked" version is given by Karen Barad in _Meeting the Universe
>> Halfway_, citing _The Philosophical Writings of Niels Bohr_.
>>
>> https://books.google.com/books?id=H41WUfTU2CMC&pg=PT270
>>
>> I don't see any searchable version of _Philosophical Writings_ on Google
>> Books to confirm.
>>
>> On Fri, Jul 28, 2017 at 1:57 PM, Chris Waigl <chris at lascribe.net> wrote:
>>
>>> This is usually quoted in Danish as "Hvis man kan sætte sig ind i
>>> kvantemekanik uden at blive svimmel, har man ikke forstået noget af det",
>>> which with the help of Google Translate seems to mean something like "If
>>> you can get into quantum mechanics without getting dizzy, you have not
>>> understood anything about it" -- which, incidentally, is a lot closer to
>>> how I remember (dimly) this Bohr quote from German. I didn't have time to
>>> chase up the Danish version further, but if you're looking into the
>>> English, I wouldn't insist on the word "shocked" being part of it.
>>>
>>> Chris
>>>
>>> On Fri, Jul 28, 2017 at 8:15 AM, MULLINS, WILLIAM D (Bill) CIV USARMY
>>> RDECOM AMRDEC (US) <william.d.mullins18.civ at mail.mil> wrote:
>>>
>>> > Kit Pedler _Mind over Matter:  A Scientist's View of the Paranormal_
>>> > Thames Methuen, 1981
>>> > [Google books Snippet View; https://books.google.com/
>>> > books?id=3hN_AAAAMAAJ&focus=searchwithinvolume&q=shocked ]
>>> > "Niels Bohr wrote: 'Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not
>>> > understood it."
>>> >
>>> >
>>> > John Gribbin, _In Search of Schrodinger's Cat_ Bantam 1984.
>>> > Epigram on p 5 "Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not
>>> > understood it.  Niels Bohr 1885 - 1962"
>>> >
>>> > https://books.google.com/books?id=IxOBm322_lIC&q=
>>> > shocked#v=snippet&q=shocked&f=false
>>> >
>>> > > -----Original Message-----
>>> > > From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On
>>> > Behalf Of Shapiro, Fred
>>> > > Sent: Thursday, July 27, 2017 4:13 PM
>>> > > To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
>>> > > Subject: [Non-DoD Source] Niels Bohr Quote
>>> > >
>>> > > The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations has the following quote under
>>> Niels
>>> > Bohr:
>>> > >
>>> > >
>>> > > [Of quantum mechanics:] Anybody who is not shocked by this subject
>>> has
>>> > failed to understand it.
>>> > >
>>> > > Niels Bohr, attributed in Nature, 23 August 1990
>>> > >
>>> > >
>>> > > Can anyone supply any occurrences of this quote, or variants of it,
>>> > prior to the 1990 Nature attribution?
>>> > >
>>> > >
>>>
>>
>
>

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