Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Archive for May 21st, 2017

“It is so, it is so!”

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No man should dream of solving a great problem unless he is so thoroughly saturated with his subject that everything else sinks into comparative insignificance. During a hurried meeting with [Julius von] Mayer in Heidelberg once, [Philipp von] Jolly remarked, with a rather dubious implication, that if Mayer’s theory were correct water could be warmed by shaking. Mayer went away without a word of reply.

Several weeks later, and now unrecognised by Jolly, he rushed into the latter’s presence exclaiming: “Es ist so! Es ist so!” (It is so, it is so!). It was only after considerable explanation that Jolly found out what Mayer wanted to say.

Ernst Mach, “On the Part Played by Accident in Invention and Discovery”

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