Cosmological Quotes By Scientists, a Rabbi, and a Philosopher

Pertinent to the Princeton University Class of 1957 Retreat Seminar

on “Science, Religion and Faith”

September 7 - 10, 2006

“If one is asked why the universe is the way it is, or asked almost any other probing existential question that begins with “why,” such as why do atoms exist, three responses are possible. First response. The question is replaced by a functional question that begins with “how,” such as how do atoms work?, and this is the usual response in science: existential questions are replaced by functional questions.”

Edward Harrison, in Cosmology, p.157

“The realization that the universe is expanding and was once much hotter and denser allows us to modernize the deep age-old questions “Why are we here?” and “How did we get here?” The updated versions are now “How did the elements form?”, “Why is the universe so smooth?”, and “How did the galaxies form from this smooth origin?” Remarkably, these questions and many like them have quantitative answers, answers that can be found only by combining our knowledge of fundamental physics with our understanding of the conditions of the early universe. Even more remarkable, these answers can be tested against astronomical observations.”

Scott Dodelson, in Modern Cosmology, p.1

“For me, the most profound and exciting discovery in cosmology has been the observations of anisotropies in the CMB [Cosmic Microwave Background], with a characteristic pattern predicted by inflation.”

Scott Dodelson, in Modern Cosmology, p.18

“What is the way to love and fear Him? By considering His works and His wonderful creations and seeing in them His wisdom.”

Rabbi Moses Maimonides, in the Code of Law

(Quoted by Scott Dodelson on a power point presentation at Saginaw Valley State University in 2000. See

“The cosmos is the primary revelatory experience of the divine.”

Thomas Berry

(Quoted on a plaque in the main reception lounge of The Resurrection Center, under the well-known photograph of the Earth as seen from Space.)