Here’s a collection of my favorite quotes on discovery.
“There is no better high than discovery.” – E. O. Wilson
“In other studies you go as far as other have gone before you, and there is nothing more to know; but in a scientific pursuit there is continual food for discovery and wonder.” – Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
“Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge.” – Stephen Hawking
“A discovery is said to be an accident meeting a prepared mind.” – Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
“In the discovery of secret things and in the investigation of hidden causes, stronger reasons are obtained from sure experiments and demonstrated arguments than from probable conjectures and the opinions of philosophical speculators of the common sort.” – William Gilbert
“There are two possible outcomes: if the result confirms the hypothesis, then you’ve made a measurement. If the result is contrary to the hypothesis, then you’ve made a discovery.” – Enrico Fermi
“The greatest discoveries have come from people who have looked at a standard situation and seen it differently.” – Ira Erwin
“The more original a discovery, the more obvious it seems afterwards.” – Arthur Koestler
“Scientific discovery and scientific knowledge have been achieved only by those who have gone in pursuit of it without any practical purpose whatsoever in view.” – Max Planck
“The most wonderful discovery made by scientists is science itself.” – Jacob Bronowski
“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – André Gide
“They are ill discoverers that think there is no land when they can see nothing but sea.” – Francis Bacon
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust
“To see the world for a moment as something rich and strange is the private reward of many a discovery.” – Edward M. Purcell
“Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen, and thinking what nobody has thought.” – Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
“Through every rift of discovery some seeming anomaly drops out of the darkness, and falls, as a golden link into the great chain of order.” – Edwin Hubbel Chapin
“The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand.” Frank Herbert
“No great discovery was ever made without a bold guess.” – Isaac Newton
“The discovery of truth is prevented more effectively, not by the false appearance things present and which mislead into error, not directly by weakness of the reasoning powers, but by preconceived opinion, by prejudice.” – Arthur Schopenhauer
“The secret to discovery is to never believe existing facts.” – Bryant H. McGill
“The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance – it is the illusion of knowledge.” – Daniel J. Boorstin
“Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.” – Will Durant
“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” – Mark Van Doren
“Our real discoveries come from chaos, from going to the place that looks wrong and stupid and foolish.” – Chuck Palahniuk
“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” – James Joyce
“He who never made a mistake, never made a discovery.” – Samuel Smiles
“There’ll always be serendipity involved in discovery.” – Jeff Bezos
“One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.” – A. A. Milne
“The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand.” – Frank Herbert
“If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient attention, than to any other talent.” – Isaac Newton
“There is no harm in doubt and skepticism, for it is through these that new discoveries are made.” – Richard Feynman
“The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ (I found it!) but ‘That’s funny’” – Isaac Asimov
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Marcel Proust wrote, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscape but in having new eyes.”
Increasingly, we all find ourselves photographing at locations where many have photographed before us.
When I encounter this I ask myself many questions.
Here are a few.
What’s been done before?
What made it work?
How could it be improved?
What hasn’t been done before?
How have things changed since that work was done?
What could be done to reflect that change?
What’s unique about this moment?
How many ways could that be made clear in images?
What’s special about my perspective?
How many ways can I make that strongly felt?
The right set of questions can help generate many ideas as well as guide and focus work.
I usually have so many thoughts and feelings that I need to make notes to catch them all. Trying to find the best words to express them with makes my understanding of them clearer.
Next time you find yourself in familiar territory, I recommend you start asking many useful questions.
Read more about the creation of this image here.
Find more resources about developing your personal vision here.
Learn more in my digital photography workshops.
Biochemist Kary Mullis talks about the basis of modern science: the experiment. Sharing tales from the 17th century and from his own backyard-rocketry days, Mullis celebrates the curiosity, inspiration and rigor of good science in all its forms.
Find more of my favorite TED videos here.