Which instantly ruins an amazing day

80 amazing quotes from outstanding women scientists

by Tim Reichel

Women are underrepresented in science. This is not attention-grabbing gender talk, but a sad reality. In Germany, the career prospects of young (and old) female scientists are better than ever before - from a historical point of view and in relation to other regions of the world there is a clear need to catch up.

Almost everyone knows the names Albert Einstein, Max Planck, Charles Darwin, Galileo Galilei or Stephen Hawking. But what about famous female researchers? Let's do a test: spontaneously name five well-known scientists! You have 30 seconds. Come on!

Not that easy, right?

To explain: Many well-known discoveries and inventions are attributed to male researchers. Especially the popular sciences. It's not because there weren't any smart women; they just weren't allowed to work in that area. They were discriminated against and oppressed. A scientist was an exception until the middle of the last century.

Yet they did exist.

And in this article I want to introduce you to some of the greatest scientists in human history. So that you can memorize the names better, I researched one or more amazing quotes for each person. At first I had doubts that the compilation could be too tight. In the end it turned out to be a very large collection.

Have fun with it!



80 quotes from outstanding women scientists


Quote # 1

Scientists should never claim that anything is absolutely true. You should never claim perfection or 100 percent because you never get there.

Jocelyn Bell Burnell (radio astronomer)


Quote # 2

Science doesn't always go forward. It's a bit like a Rubik's Cube. Sometimes you have to wreak havoc with a Rubik's Cube before you can get it right.

Jocelyn Bell Burnell (radio astronomer)


Quote # 3

At the end of my PhD, I was able to swing a sledgehammer.

Jocelyn Bell Burnell (Radio astronomer)


Quote # 4

Science is a search for understanding.

Jocelyn Bell Burnell (radio astronomer)


Quote # 5

I didn't just want to know the names of things. I remember really wanting to know how it all worked.

Elizabeth Blackburn (molecular biologist)


Quote # 6

Our school education ignores the rules of healthy development in many ways.

Elizabeth Blackwell (doctor)


Quote #7

If society does not accept the free development of women, then society must be transformed.

Elizabeth Blackwell (doctor)


Quote # 8

One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, “What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew that I would never see it again? "

Rachel Carson (biologist)


Quote # 9

Science is part of the reality of life; it is the what, the how, and the why of everything in our experience.

Rachel Carson (biologist)


Quote # 10

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth will find reserves of strength that will last as long as life lasts.

Rachel Carson (biologist)


Quote # 11

Nothing exists in nature alone.

Rachel Carson (biologist)


Quote # 12

I think a bad husband is way worse than no husband.

Margaret Cavendish (natural philosopher)


Quote # 13

I would rather die in the adventure of noble attainments than live in a dark and sluggish security.

Margaret Cavendish (natural philosopher)


Quote # 14

Prosperity is like perfume: too much is often a headache.

Margaret Cavendish (natural philosopher)


Quote # 15

We ignore the public understanding of science at our own risk.

Eugenie Clark (zoologist)


Quote # 16

For a researcher, the unforgettable moments in his life are those rare ones that arise after years of arduous work, when the mystery of nature is suddenly revealed and when what was dark and chaotic appears in a clear and beautiful light and pattern.

Gerty Cori (biochemist)


Quote # 17

The further the experiment is from theory, the closer it is to the Nobel Prize.

Irène Joliot Curie (physicist and chemist)


Quote # 18

One element of success, regardless of the profession, is the desire for craft.

Irène Joliot Curie (physicist and chemist)


Quote # 19

You never notice what has already been done, you only see what remains to be done.

Marie Curie (physicist and chemist)


Quote # 20

You don't have to fear anything in life, you just have to understand everything.

Marie Curie (physicist and chemist)


Quote # 21

We have to have perseverance and, above all, trust in ourselves. We have to believe that we are gifted and that we can achieve something.

Marie Curie (physicist and chemist)


Quote # 22

Courage is like - it's a habitus, a habit, a virtue: you get it through courageous deeds. It's like learning to swim. You learn to be brave by being brave.

Marie Daly (biochemist)


Quote # 23

As scientists, we need to explain what we do and why we do it, rather than dictate how those discoveries and technologies should be used.

Jennifer Doudna (biochemist and molecular biologist)


Quote # 24

To be happy, you have to put aside your prejudices and keep your illusions.

Émilie du Châtelet (mathematician and physicist)


Quote # 25

Love of learning is the most important passion ... that's our happiness. It is a sure remedy for what torments us, an infinite source of joy.

Émilie du Châtelet (mathematician and physicist)


Quote # 26

Don't be afraid of hard work. Something of value will not fly to you. Don't let others discourage you or tell you that you can't do it. In my day, I was told that women don't go into the chemical industry. I saw no reason why we couldn't.

Gertrude Elion (biochemist and pharmacologist)


Quote # 27

People often ask me: Was the Nobel Prize the thing you have been working towards all your life? I then tell them that I'm not crazy after all. Nobel would go for a Nobel Prize because if you didn't get it, your whole life would be wasted. I have always tried to help people and do good and that satisfaction is far greater than any prize you can get.

Gertrude Elion (biochemist and pharmacologist)


Quote # 28

It is two things to have received understanding and to have learned to use the understanding that one has received.

Dorothea Erxleben (doctor)


Quote # 29

Everyone would like to have an intelligent wife, but one does not want to allow them the means of understanding.

Dorothea Erxleben (doctor)


Quote # 30

When you see the value of all life, you dwell less in the past and focus more on preserving the future.

Dian Fossey (zoologist and behavioral scientist)


Quote # 31

Science and everyday life cannot and should not be separated.

Rosalind Franklin (biochemist)


Quote # 32

Science gives me a partial explanation for life. As far as possible, it is based on facts, experience and experiment.

Rosalind Franklin (biochemist)


Quote # 33

This is probably the privilege of the ladies to receive compliments and not a real advantage.

Sophie Germain (mathematician)


Quote # 34

Math is like solving puzzles. Physics is also about solving puzzles, but puzzles created by nature, not human thoughts.

Maria Goeppert-Mayer (physicist)


Quote # 35

You can change something - every day and at any time!

Jane Goodall (behavioral scientist)


Quote # 36

We can decide anew every day what influence we want to exert on this world.

Jane Goodall (behavioral scientist)


Quote # 37

Only when we understand can we care. We can only help if we care. Only if we help can we save life.

Jane Goodall (behavioral scientist)


Quote # 38

We are definitely the smartest creature that has ever walked on this planet. But how is it that we allow the destruction of our only living space? I have the impression that we have lost the wisdom, the wisdom that makes people who make a decision today ask what consequences this has for future generations.

Jane Goodall (behavioral scientist)


Quote # 39

If we take the future seriously, then we have to stop leaving it to others and instead become active ourselves.

Jane Goodall (behavioral scientist)


Quote # 40

A great power arises when young people decide to change something. You have power and the future of the planet in your hands.

Jane Goodall (behavioral scientist)



Quote # 41

Never limit yourself because of the limited imagination of others; never limit others based on your own limited imagination.

Jane Goodall (behavioral scientist)


Quote # 42

As always in life, people want a simple answer ... and it's always wrong.

Susan Greenfield (brain researcher)


Quote # 43

One of the lessons I've learned at different stages of my career is that science is not done alone. Progress is only made through discussions and exchanges with others.

Carol W. Greider (molecular biologist)


Quote # 44

The most damaging expression in language is: "We have always done it this way up to now."

Grace Hopper (computer scientist)


Quote # 45

It's easier to apologize afterwards than to get permission first.

Grace Hopper (computer scientist)


Quote # 46

Dear neutron that lives at the core of an atom in my knee, if you don't stop jumping around you will create an atomic explosion and destroy the universe.

Therese Hance Hutcherson Braithwaite (mathematician)


Quote # 47

I enjoy what I fear.

Shirley Jackson (literary scholar)


Quote # 48

Some of the funniest people I know are scientists.

Mae C. Jemison (doctor and astronaut)


Quote # 49

In reality, however, it (mathematics) is a science that requires the greatest imagination.

Sofja Kowalewski (mathematician)


Quote # 50

I advise young people to reach for the stars. And I can't think of a higher level than inventing something new.

Stephanie Kwolek (chemist)


Quote # 51

If you are open to new ideas and play around with things, anything can happen.

Stephanie Kwolek (chemist)


Quote # 52

Basically, I was just driven by curiosity.

Mary Leakey (archaeologist)


Quote # 53

Don't be afraid of difficult moments. The best comes from them.

Rita Levi-Montalcini (doctor and neurobiologist)


Quote # 54

To young people I say: don't think about yourself, think about others. Think about the future that awaits you, think about what you can do and do not fear anything.

Rita Levi-Montalcini (doctor and neurobiologist)


Quote # 55

The body does what it wants. But I am not my body; i am my mind

Rita Levi-Montalcini (doctor and neurobiologist)


Quote # 56

I'm one of those geniuses who limit themselves to relaxing.

Ada Lovelace (mathematician)


Quote # 57

When you know you are right, you don't care what others think. You know that sooner or later it will become clear.

Barbara McClintock (botanist and geneticist)


Quote # 58

There is no question that plants have some kind of feelings. But just because they are somewhere, someone walking down the street thinks they are plastic and not alive.

Barbara McClintock (botanist and geneticist)


Quote # 59

Science ensures that people achieve truth and objectivity; it teaches people to accept reality with amazement and admiration, not to mention the deep awe and joy in the natural order of things.

Lise Meitner (nuclear physicist)


Quote # 60

You must not hold us scientists responsible for the fact that our discoveries are used in war technology.

Lise Meitner (nuclear physicist)


Quote # 61

Life doesn't have to be easy, provided it isn't empty.

Lise Meitner (nuclear physicist)


Quote # 62

Having a friend who shares your interests and helps you stay motivated is invaluable.

Maryam Mirzakhani (mathematician)


Quote # 63

A woman undoubtedly encounters great difficulties on her way, but she has much more to overcome. First of all, no woman should say: “I am only a woman!” But at least a woman! What more do you want

Maria Mitchell (astronomer)


Quote # 64

Above all, we need imagination in science. It's not all math or logic, but it's always full of beauty and poetry.

Maria Mitchell (astronomer)


Quote # 65

Study as if you will live forever; live like you're dying tomorrow

Maria Mitchell (astronomer)


Quote # 66

I don't think about being male or female, I just act naturally. I think in terms of excellence in science. Gender doesn't matter.

May-Britt Moser (neuroscientist)


Quote # 67

The Nobel Prize is important - as the last bastion of awe for knowledge.

Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard (biologist and biochemist)


Quote # 68

My (algebraic) methods are really methods of working and thinking; that's why they sneaked in anonymously everywhere.

Emmy Noether (mathematician)


Quote # 69

Only those who can warm themselves up in themselves can someone else warm up too.

Agnes Pockels (physical chemist)


Quote # 70

Being a scientist is like being an explorer. You have this immense curiosity, this stubbornness, this determined will to move forward no matter what other people say.

Sara Seager (astrophysicist)


Quote # 71

If I'm not successful today, I'll attack again tomorrow.

Mary Somerville (astronomer and mathematician)


Quote # 72

Defend your right to think. Thinking and being wrong is better than not thinking.

Hypatia of Alexandria (mathematician, astronomer and philosopher)


Quote # 73

Whatever I start, I stick it out, I persevere loyal and I don't destroy anyone.

Hildegard von Bingen (polymath)


Quote # 74

The eyes are the windows of the soul.

Hildegard von Bingen (polymath)


Quote # 75

Only the devil doesn't know music.

Hildegard von Bingen (polymath)


Quote # 76

Give man a dog and his soul will be healed.

Hildegard von Bingen (polymath)


Quote # 77

We women have to believe in ourselves, otherwise nobody will.

Rosalyn Yalow (physicist and nuclear medicine specialist)


Quote # 78

The fact that women do not reach leadership positions is in large part due to social and professional discrimination.

Rosalyn Yalow (physicist and nuclear medicine specialist)


Quote # 79

The excitement of learning separates youth from old age. As long as you study, you are not old.

Rosalyn Yalow (physicist and nuclear medicine specialist)


Quote # 80

I have been described as a dreamer, a fantasy, even an idiot. I didn't care. It was just important to me to convince people to let me get on with my work.

Ada E. Yonath (structural biologist)




Fortunately, women scientists are no longer uncommon. Of course, this varies greatly depending on the research focus and region, but the proportion of women in science has risen continuously over the last few years and decades.

I have introduced you to some of the most important women scientists in this collection of quotes. All of these researchers have achieved extraordinary things - part of their brilliance is reflected in the quotes.

Do you know any other well-known quotes from female scientists that should be given a little more focus? Feel free to write in the comments below this article and help me grow the list!


Image: © Brooke Lark / shutterstock.com