SUN IS ENERGY SOURCE (May, 1929)

Well, he wasn’t misquoted. According to wikipedia he said:

“There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom. The glib supposition of utilizing atomic energy when our coal has run out is a completely unscientific Utopian dream, a childish bug-a-boo. Nature has introduced a few fool-proof devices into the great majority of elements that constitute the bulk of the world, and they have no energy to give up in the process of disintegration.” – 1928 at the Chemists’ Club (New York)

He also got the first Physics Ph.D from Columbia and discovered the mass and charge of the electron, which won him the Nobel prize in 1923 so I guess we can cut him a little slack.

SUN IS ENERGY SOURCE

OPINIONS of some natural scientists that man will some day be able to break down atoms and derive power from the energy contained within them were given a set-back recently when Dr. Robert A. Millikan, famous physicist, declared that experiments led him to believe that man will never have any other source of energy than the sun. Radiation from Old Sol is the source of all energy now used by man.

9 comments
  1. Hirudinea says: May 4, 201212:45 pm

    Statements like this are not all that unusual, Lord Kelvin said in 1895 “heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible” ), followed by his 1896 statement, “I have not the smallest molecule of faith in aerial navigation other than ballooning…I would not care to be a member of the Aeronautical Society.” So it just goes to show you just because your smart your can’t predict the future.

  2. jayessell says: May 4, 20123:47 pm

    Clarke’s First Law:
    When a respected scientist says something is possible, he’s probably right.
    When a respected scientist says something is impossible, he’s probably wrong.

  3. Toronto says: May 4, 20128:26 pm

    Lord Hobbes, if he existed, would have said “Go fly a kite!”

  4. D says: May 5, 201212:13 am

    Millikan had a few weird ideas over the years; he must have been an interesting fellow to talk to.

  5. Stephen says: May 5, 20125:33 am

    Even modern nuclear power stations are dependent on “suns” – the uranium and thorium we put in our reactors were created in bygone supernovae. We will only be creating entirely new energy if we master controlled nuclear fusion.

  6. Charlie says: May 5, 201210:55 am

    Stephen: That’s a different argument entirely. Everything heavier than Lithium came from “suns”.

  7. Toronto says: May 5, 20124:36 pm

    Sadly, someday Oracle will buy the sun and ruin it.

  8. Lord Kelvin says: May 6, 201210:26 am

    Lord Rutherford who actually was the first to split atoms in an experiment said:
    “The energy produced by the breaking down of the atom is a very poor kind of thing. Anyone who expects a source of power from the transformation of these atoms is talking moonshine.” – 1933

    Michelson, (Electro magnetism) said
    “It seems probable that most of the grand underlying principles have now been firmly established and that further advances are to be sought chiefly in the rigorous application of these principles to all the phenomena which come under our notice. It is never safe to affirm that the future of physical science has no marvels in store which may be even more astonishing than those of the past; but, it seems probable that most of the grand underlying principles have now been firmly established and that further advances are to be sought chiefly in the rigorous application of these principles to all the phenomena which come under our notice.”
    – Albert Michelson in 1894

  9. Charlene says: May 6, 201211:21 am

    He lived long enough to have to eat his words.

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