A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.
Max Planck, Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1949), pp. 33-34


A new scientific truth does not assert itself in such a way that its opponents are persuaded and declare themselves instructed, but rather by the fact that its opponents gradually die out and that the growing generation is familiar with the truth from the outset.

is a more accurate, literal, or better translation of

Eine neue wissenschaftliche Wahrheit pflegt sich nicht in der Weise durchzusetzen, dass ihre Gegner überzeugt werden und sich als belehrt erklären, sondern vielmehr dadurch, dass ihre Gegner allmählich aussterben und dass die heranwachsende Generation von vornherein mit der Wahrheit vertraut gemacht ist.
M. Planck, Wissenschaftliche Selbstbiographie. Leipzig 1948. (PAV, Bd. 3, S. 374–401)


  • 1
    The latter one is straight to Planck's point. Triumphieren cannot be used the way English to triumph is used in that example.
    – Janka
    Jun 6, 2019 at 4:18
  • "Better translation" by which criterion? For example, shall tone and terminology of the late 40ies be preserved or shall it sound fluent for todays ears? Jun 6, 2019 at 12:36

1 Answer 1


The DeepL version should be preferred.

Both versions transfer the meaning of the statement which is that even scientist often don't a accept new facts and cling to their know "truths".

But the DeepL version conveys the sentiment of M. Planck better.

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