Santiago Ramon y Cajal
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Ed's Favorite Quotations. Emphasis added. References below.

SANTIAGO RAMON y CAJAL

   
Advice for a Young Investigator
.

" . . . the major sources of knowledge include observation, experiment, and reasoning by induction and deduction."1a

"There is no doubt that the human mind is fundamentally incapable of solving these formidable problems (the origin of life, nature of matter, origin of movement, and appearance of consciousness). Our brain is an organ of action that is directed toward practical tasks; it does not appear to have been built for discovering the ultimate causes of things, but rather for determining their immediate causes and invariant relationships. And whereas this may appear to be very little, it is in fact a great deal. . . we may proceed quite nicely without knowing the essence of things."1b

" . . . [T]here are no rules for making discoveries, let alone for converting those lacking a natural talent for thinking logically into successful researchers. As for geniuses, it is well known that they have difficulty bowing to rules--they prefer to make them instead."1c

" . . . [S]cience is often built on the ruins of theories once thought to be indestructible."1d

" . . . [L]et us cultivate science for its own sake, without considering its applications. . . The course of progress obviously would have suffered if Galvani, Volta, Faraday, and Hertz, who discovered the fundamental principles of electricity, had discounted their findings because there were no industrial applications for them at the time."1e

"It is well known that a discovery is simply the joining of two or more pieces of information to a useful end."1f

"Those writing about logic emphasize with good reason the creative power of concentration, although they tend to ignore a variety that might appropriately be called cerebral polarization or sustained concentration � that is, steady orientation of all our faculties toward a single object of study for a period of months or even years."1g

"Discovery is often a matter of simply fitting a piece of data to a law, or wrapping it in a broader theoretical framework, or, finally, classifying it."1h

"Mastery of technique is so important that without fear of contradiction it may stated that great discoveries are in the hands of the finest and most knowledgeable experts on one or more of the analytical methods."1i


     

Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852-1934). Advice for a Young Investigator. Translated by Neely Swanson and Larry W. Swanson. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1999. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. (Originally published in Spanish under the title Reglas y Consejos sobre Investigacion Cientifica: Los tonicos de la voluntad.)
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Recollections of My Life.
  

Santiago Ram�n y Cajal. Recollections of My Life.
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Cajal's Degeneration and Regeneration of the Nervous System.
  

Santiago Ram�n y Cajal. Recollection of My Life.
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* Italics in the original.

1 Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852-1934). Advice for a Young Investigator. Translated by Neely Swanson and Larry W. Swanson. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1999. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. (Originally published in Spanish under the title Reglas y Consejos sobre Investigaci�n Cientifica: Los tonicos de la voluntad.)
a Introduction, at 1.
b Ibid., at 3.
c
Ibid., at 6.
d Beginner's Traps, at 14.
e Ibid., at 19.
f Ibid., at 20.
g Intellectual Qualities, at 32.
h What Newcomers to Biological Research Should Know, at 54.
i Ibid., at 65.

MK-BOOKS-RAMON y CAJAL-20110218.