Thursday, 13 April 2017

Motto of the day: Nullius in verba

Surely the organisation with absolutely the best motto is the Royal Society? Nullius in verba, according to the Wikipedia, means “Take nobody’s word for it”; it is Latin for “on the word of no-one”. John Evelyn and other Fellows of the Royal Society choose the motto soon after the Society was founded, 350 years ago. The Royal Society explains the motto this way:
It is an expression of the determination of Fellows to withstand the domination of authority and to verify all statements by an appeal to facts determined by experiment.
The phrase came from Horace's Epistle to his benefactor Maecenas. These are his words
Nullius addictus iurare in verba magistri, – quo me cumque rapit tempestas, deferor hospes.
("(being) not obliged to swear allegiance to a master, wherever the storm drags me to, I turn in as a guest.")
It is hard to think of a better motto – a challenge to make us all sit up and think, as the Royal Society says.


Rebecca said...

I think it's a great motto. It makes me picture a scientist with hands on hips saying 'citation needed'.

Derek Whitehead said...

At present, Rebecca, there is a gap in my CV against the line "personal motto" - maybe I should adopt this one?

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