Monday, August 27, 2012

Quotations about mathematicians


Some  quotations about mathematicians, or by mathematicians.

1-    Each generation has its few great mathematicians...and [the others'] research harms no one.

        —Alfred W. Adler (1930- ), "Mathematics and Creativity"

2-    In short, I never yet encountered the mere mathematician who could be trusted out of equal roots, or one who did not clandestinely hold it as a point of his faith that x squared + px was absolutely and unconditionally equal to q. Say to one of these gentlemen, by way of experiment, if you please, that you believe occasions may occur where x squared + px is not altogether equal to q, and, having made him understand what you mean, get out of his reach as speedily as convenient, for, beyond doubt, he will endeavor to knock you down.

        —Edgar Allan Poe, The purloined letter

3-    A mathematician, like a painter or poet, is a maker of patterns. If his patterns are more permanent than theirs, it is because they are made with ideas.

        —G. H. Hardy, A Mathematician's Apology

4-    Some of you may have met mathematicians and wondered how they got that way.

        —Tom Lehrer

5-    It is impossible to be a mathematician without being a poet in soul.

        —Sofia Kovalevskaya

6-    There are two ways to do great mathematics. The first is to be smarter than everybody else. The second way is to be stupider than everybody else—but persistent.

        —Raoul Bott

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