Physician and Scientist Authors

The main attraction of science for me when I was growing up, was writings of scientists and physicians on my father’s and mother’s bookshelves. No book was denied to me, at any age, if I took it down to read. The parents might not want to talk about it, but they would let me read it. The attraction of writings by people who were not only authors but also scientists or physicians, began when I was quite young, about eleven, and has persisted throughout my life.

Here are a list of my favorites, with links to their author sites.

“The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were.”
John Keats

“Medicine is my lawful wife and literature my mistress; when I get tired of one, I spend the night with the other.”
Anton Chekhov

“Only one thing abides: an infinite beauty that passes from form to form, eternally changed and revealed afresh.”
Georg Büchner

“Deeper meaning resides in the fairy tales told to me in my childhood than in the truth that is taught by life.”
Friedrich von Schiller

“Words have a magical power. They can bring either the greatest happiness or deepest despair; they can transfer knowledge from teacher to student; words enable the orator to sway his audience and dictate its decisions. Words are capable of arousing the strongest emotions and prompting all men’s actions.”
Sigmund Freud

“All that was great in the past was ridiculed, condemned, combated, suppressed — only to emerge all the more powerfully, all the more triumphantly from the struggle.” ― Nikola Tesla

“Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the earth, are never alone or weary of life.”
Rachel Carson

“Every act of perception, is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination.”
Oliver Sacks

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
Jane Goodall

“Don’t let yourself be. Find something new to try, something to change. Count how often it succeeds and how often it doesn’t. Write about it. Ask a patient or a colleague what they think about it. See if you can keep the conversation going.”
Atul Gawande

Do you have favorite authors who were also scientists or physicians?

7 responses to “Physician and Scientist Authors”

  1. You, of course! I always love this passage from your short story Mother’s Love in Death and the Dream,

    “Mother took the pie out of the oven and it hissed fragrant apple, maple, cinnamon steam through the knife cuts in the top crust. She was making her world beautiful. She was making her world delicious. It could be done, and if anyone could do it, she could.”

    We should all make our world beautiful and delicious.



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