We all know that there are published collections of quotations by famous people available. One of Al’s characteristics was to pepper his conversation with many aphorisms, axioms, proverbs, maxims, precepts, and adages from pre-history/classical to modern times. Without effort he seemed to be able to quote an astounding range of sayings from a extraordinary diversity of sources; often from people those conversing with him had never even heard of before. Somehow, he did not sound in the least self-important or boastful when he did this. Any quotation was so pertinent and appropriate and delivered so sincerely and simply it enlightened the conversation and the listeners. Here we provide a selection of such aphorisms of his own, and those he admired.
Al defined “adages” as “a saying embodying common observation;” “aphorisms” as “a concise statement of a truth or principle;” “apothegms” as “a pithy instructive saying.” He described these as “the fundamental particles of wisdom; the hadrons and leptons of sagacity; the photons and gluons of understanding.” How’re those phrases as analogies appropriate for a physicist?