Great Quotation About Science and Scientific Enquiry

In an address given at the inauguration of the Faculty of Science at the University of Lille in 1854, Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) stated:

“Dans les champs de l’observation le hasard ne favorise que les espirits prepares.”

He was making the point about how vital it is to observe and show discipline when it comes to scientific enquiry.  In the Earth sciences such as palaeontology, observation is extremely important.  We advise amateur fossil hunters to draw and sketch their fossil finds as well as photograph them as we believe it is only through careful observation, such as that needed to produce a facsimile of an object, can one really understand a fossil.

Translated, Pasteur’s quotation is:

“Where observation is concerned chance only favours the prepared mind.”

In our view Pasteur was emphasising the importance of being disciplined and the need to observe carefully.  This is a founding principle of scientific enquiry.

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