Have fun parsing this wild list. . .
* "The electron is a theory we use; it is so useful in understanding the way nature works that we can almost call it real." --- Richard Feynman, From Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman, p. 70
* "Everything is still vague and unclear to me, but it seems as if the electrons will no more move on orbits" ---Heisenberg in a letter to Pauli after conceiving Matrix Mechanics, June 9th 1925
* "There is one simplification at least. Electrons behave ... in exactly the same way as photons; they are both screwy, but in exactly in the same way... — Richard P. Feynman 'Probability abd Uncertainty—the Quantum Mechanical View of Nature', the sixth of his Messenger Lectures (1964), Cornell ------ (I wonder if he intended that pun)
* "… we may think on an electron as always being surrounded by a cloud of virtual photons. If the electron is violently accelerated by some external means, some of this cloud may be shaken loose and given enough energy to become real photons" ---Frank Shu, The Physical Universe, 1982
* "One possibility in this direction is to regard, classically, an electron as the end of a single Faraday line of force. The electric field in this picture from discrete Faraday lines of force, which are to be treated as physical things, like strings. One has then to develop a dynamics for such a string like structure, and quantize it.... In such a theory a bare electron would be inconceivable, since one cannot imagine the end of a piece of string without having the string. ---Paul Dirac, Bombay Lectures (1955)
* "the electron and proton are not really independent, but just two manifestations of one elementary particle." ---Paul Dirac, (1930)
* "There was a time when we wanted to be told what an electron is. The question was never answered. No familiar conceptions can be woven around the electron; it belongs to the waiting list." — Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, The Nature Of The Physical World (1928), 290
* "For most practical purposes, an electron is a structure-less particle that possesses an intrinsic angular momentum, or spin." ---Frank Wilczek, What is an Electron?
* "Electron degeneracy pressure results from the same underlying mechanism that defines the electron orbital structure of elemental matter. Freeman Dyson showed that the imperviousness of solid matter is due to quantum degeneracy pressure rather than electrostatic repulsion as had been previously assumed." (Wiki Quote, Electron Degeneracy Pressure, citing three of Freeman Dyson's papers)
* "The inner equilibrium of an extended electron becomes . . . an insoluble puzzle from the point of view of electrodynamics. I hold this puzzle (and the questions related to it) to be a stochastic problem. . . The electrons are not only indivisible physically, but also geometrically. They have no extension in space at all [so they are a concept???]. Inner forces between the elements of an electron do not exist because such elements are not available. The electromagnetic interpretation of the mass is thus eliminated."---Yakov Frenkel, 1925
* "As advertising always convinces the sponsor even more than the public, the scientists have become sold, and remain sold, on the idea that they have the key to the Absolute, and that nothing will do for Mr. Average Citizen but to stuff himself full of electrons." — Anthony Standen, In Science is a Sacred Cow (1950), 26.
* "Firm support has been found for the assertion that electricity occurs at thousands of points where we at most conjectured that it was present. Innumerable electrical particles oscillate in every flame and light source. We can in fact assume that every heat source is filled with electrons which will continue to oscillate ceaselessly and indefinitely. All these electrons leave their impression on the emitted rays." ---Pieter Zeeman, 'Light Radiation in a Magnetic Field', Nobel Lecture, 2 May 1903.)
* "It is structure that we look for whenever we try to understand anything. All science is built upon this search; we investigate how the cell is built of reticular material, cytoplasm, chromosomes; how crystals aggregate; how atoms are fastened together; how electrons constitute a chemical bond between atoms. We like to understand, and to explain, observed facts in terms of structure. A chemist who understands why a diamond has certain properties, or why nylon or hemoglobin have other properties, because of the different ways their atoms are arranged, may ask questions that a geologist would not think of' formulating, unless he had been similarly trained in this way of thinking about the world." — Linus Pauling
‘The Place of Chemistry In the Integration of the Sciences’, Main Currents in Modern Thought (1950), 7, 110.
* "Most American homes have alternating current, which means that the electricty goes in one direction for a while, then goes in the other direction. This prevents harmful electron buildup in the wires." — Dave Barry, In The Taming of the Screw: How to Sidestep Several Million Homeowner's Problems (1983), 12
* "The chemist in America has in general been content with what I have called a loafer electron theory. He has imagined the electrons sitting around on dry goods boxes at every corner [viz. the cubic atom], ready to shake hands with, or hold on to similar loafer electrons in other atoms." — Robert Andrews Millikan, 'Atomism in Modern Physics', Journal of the Chemical Society (1924), 1411.
* "The energy of a covalent bond is largely the energy of resonance of two electrons between two atoms. The examination of the form of the resonance integral shows that the resonance energy increases in magnitude with increase in the overlapping of the two atomic orbitals involved in the formation of the bond, the word ‘overlapping” signifying the extent to which regions in space in which the two orbital wave functions have large values coincide... Consequently it is expected that of two orbitals in an atom the one which can overlap more with an orbital of another atom will form the stronger bond with that atom, and, moreover, the bond formed by a given orbital will tend to lie in that direction in which the orbital is concentrated." — Linus Pauling, Nature of the Chemical Bond and the Structure of Molecules and Crystals (1939), 76.
* "There can never be two or more equivalent electrons in an atom, for which in a strong field the values of all the quantum numbers n, k1, k2 and m are the same. If an electron is present, for which these quantum numbers (in an external field) have definite values, then this state is ‘occupied.’ — Wolfgang Pauli
* "[The chemical bond] First, it is related to the disposition of two electrons (remember, no one has ever seen an electron!): next, these electrons have their spins pointing in opposite directions (remember, no one can ever measure the spin of a particular electron!): then, the spatial distribution of these electrons is described analytically with some degree of precision (remember, there is no way of distinguishing experimentally the density distribution of one electron from another!): concepts like hybridization, covalent and ionic structures, resonance, all appear, not one of which corresponds to anything that is directly measurable. These concepts make a chemical bond seem so real, so life-like, that I can almost see it. Then I wake with a shock to the realization that a chemical bond does not exist; it is a figment of the imagination that we have invented, and no more real than the square root of - 1." --- — Charles Alfred Coulson, Quoted in his obituary, Biographical Memoirs of the Fellows of the Royal Society 1974, 20, 96
* “Although Thompson came to accept the electron as an electromagnetic particle, his view was different from that held by Lorentz and the German electrodynamicists. In a little known work of 1907 he pictured aether as an “ethereal astral body” glued to electrical particles and thought that these were “connected by some invisible universal something which we call aether . . . [and that] this aether must possess mass . . . when the electrified body is brought into motion.” Thomson concluded his 1907 discourse on matter and aether with a formulation that illustrates how little his thoughts had changed since the 1870s when he first encountered The Unseen Universe: “We are led to the conclusion that the invisible universe, and the natural phenomena that we observe are pictures woven on the looms of this invisible universe.” From Histories of the Electron: The Birth of Microphysics by Jed Z. Buchwald p. 212 (J.J. Thomson, “Die Beziehung zwischen Materie un Ather im Lichte der neureren Forschungen auf dem Gebiete der Elektrizitat” (This paper was the Adamson lecture of 4 November 1907)
* "Electrons are the final realities of matter, electricity then the material of which the atoms of our elements are constructed. . . But what is electricity itself? Light ether in a certain state . . . the light ether is thus the universal primary matter." ---Richard Ehrenfeld, (German chemist and historian of science), 1906
* "the electron is to simple of a thing for the question of the laws governing its structure to arise." ---Paul Dirac, Classical Theory of Radiating Electrons, 1938
where the electron behaves and misbehaves as it will,
where the forces tie themselves up into knots of atoms
and come untied;
of mistiness complicated into knots and clots that barge about
and bump on one another and explode into more mist, or don't,
mist of energy most scientific -
But give us gods!
where the father of all things swims in a mist of atoms
electrons and energies, quantums and relativities
mists, wreathing mists,
like a wild swan, or a goose, whose honk goes through my bladder.
---D.H. Lawrence poem titled Give Us Gods
last but not least:
* "So, what is an electron? An electron is a particle, and a wave; it is ideally simple, and unimaginably complex; it is precisely understood, and utterly mysterious; it is rigid, and subject to creative disassembly. No single answer does justice to
reality." ---Frank Wilczek, From What is an Electron?, 2013
After reading this we might as well make electron synonymous with God.
* "The more I think about the physical portion of Schrödinger's theory, the more repulsive I find it...What Schrödinger writes about the visualizability of his theory 'is probably not quite right,' in other words it's crap. ---(Heisenberg, writing to Pauli, 1926)