Mathematics expresses values that reflect the cosmos, including orderliness, balance, harmony, logic, and abstract beauty.
I couldn't claim that I was smarter than sixty-five other guys--but the average of sixty-five other guys, certainly!
Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtle; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend.
I should attempt to treat human vice and folly geometrically... the passions of hatred, anger, envy, and so on, considered in themselves, follow from the necessity and efficacy of nature... I shall, therefore, treat the nature and strength of the emotion in exactly the same manner, as though I were concerned with lines, planes, and solids.
I started studying law, but this I could stand just for one semester. I couldn't stand more. Then I studied languages and literature for two years. After two years I passed an examination with the result I have a teaching certificate for Latin and Hungarian for the lower classes of the gymnasium, for kids from 10 to 14. I never made use of this teaching certificate. And then I came to philosophy, physics, and mathematics. In fact, I came to mathematics indirectly. I was really more interested in physics and philosophy and thought about those. It is a little shortened but not quite wrong to say: I thought I am not good enough for physics and I am too good for philosophy. Mathematics is in between.
When we are young, we spend much time and pains in filling our note-books with all definitions of Religion, Love, Poetry, Politics, Art, in the hope that, in the course of a few years, we shall have condensed into our encyclopaedia the net value of all the theories at which the world has yet arrived. But year after year our tables get no completeness, and at last we discover that our curve is a parabola, whose arcs will never meet.
If you can't test it, it's not theorics -- it's metatheorics. A branch of philosophy. So, if you want to think of it this way, our test equipment is what defines the boundary separating theorics from philosophy.
Physicists have come to realize that mathematics, when used with sufficient care, is a proven pathway to truth.
People enjoy inventing slogans which violate basic arithmetic but which illustrate “deeper” truths, such as “1 and 1 make 1” (for lovers), or “1 plus 1 plus 1 equals 1” (the Trinity). You can easily pick holes in those slogans, showing why, for instance, using the plus-sign is inappropriate in both cases. But such cases proliferate. Two raindrops running down a window-pane merge; does one plus one make one? A cloud breaks up into two clouds -more evidence of the same? It is not at all easy to draw a sharp line between cases where what is happening could be called “addition”, and where some other word is wanted. If you think about the question, you will probably come up with some criterion involving separation of the objects in space, and making sure each one is clearly distinguishable from all the others. But then how could one count ideas? Or the number of gases comprising the atmosphere? Somewhere, if you try to look it up, you can probably fin a statement such as, “There are 17 languages in India, and 462 dialects.” There is something strange about the precise statements like that, when the concepts “language” and “dialect” are themselves fuzzy.
If you can't illustrate 'it', 'it' doens't belong in Physics as a noun! You can't put an article in front. You can't put a verb after!
A mathematician is an individual who believes that prophesying that his dog will die if he deprives it of food constitutes a prediction.
The difference between the poet and the mathematician is that the poet tries to get his head into the heavens while the mathematician tries to get the heavens into his head.
My first feeling was that there was no way to continue. Writing isn't like math;in math, two plus two always equals four no matter what your mood is like. With writing, the way you feel changes everything.
The ‘Muse’ is not an artistic mystery, but a mathematical equation. The gift are those ideas you think of as you drift to sleep. The giver is that one you think of when you first awake.
The thing I want you especially to understand is this feeling of divine revelation. I feel that this structure was out there all along I just couldn't see it. And now I can! This is really what keeps me in the math game-- the chance that I might glimpse some kind of secret underlying truth, some sort of message from the gods.
Teaching mathematics, like teaching any art, requires the ability to inspire the student. Inspiration requires marketing, and marketing requires stirring communication.
There cannot be a language more universal and more simple, more free from errors and obscurities...more worthy to express the invariable relations of all natural things [than mathematics]. [It interprets] all phenomena by the same language, as if to attest the unity and simplicity of the plan of the universe, and to make still more evident that unchangeable order which presides over all natural causes
Neglect of mathematics work injury to all knowledge, since he who is ignorant of it cannot know the other sciences or things of this world. And what is worst, those who are thus ignorant are unable to perceive their own ignorance, and so do not seek a remedy.
Q. You do not consider your statement a disloyal one?A. No, sir. Scientific truth is beyond loyalty and disloyalty.Q. Can you prove that this mathematics is valid?A. Only to another mathematician.Q. Your claim then is that your truth is of so esoteric a nature that it is beyond the understanding of a plain man. It seems to me that truth should be clearer than that, less mysterious, more open to the mind.A. It presents no difficulties to some minds. The physics of energy transfer, which we know as thermodynamics, has been clear and true through all the history of man since the mythical ages, yet there may be people present who would find it impossible to design a power engine. People of high intelligence, too.
If in other sciences we should arrive at certainty without doubt and truth without error, it behooves us to place the foundations of knowledge in mathematics.
No mathematician in the world would bother making these senseless distinctions: 2 1/2 is a mixed number while 5/2 is an improper fraction. They're EQUAL for crying out loud. They are the exact same numbers and have the exact same properties. Who uses such words outside of fourth grade?
Why don't we want our children to learn to do mathematics? Is it that we don't trust them, that we think it's too hard? We seem to feel that they are capable of making arguments and coming to their own conclusions about Napoleon. Why not about triangles?
A Puritan twist in our nature makes us think that anything good for us must be twice as good if it's hard to swallow. Learning Greek and Latin used to play the role of character builder, since they were considered to be as exhausting and unrewarding as digging a trench in the morning and filling it up in the afternoon. It was what made a man, or a woman -- or more likely a robot -- of you. Now math serves that purpose in many schools: your task is to try to follow rules that make sense, perhaps, to some higher beings; and in the end to accept your failure with humbled pride. As you limp off with your aching mind and bruised soul, you know that nothing in later life will ever be as difficult.What a perverse fate for one of our kind's greatest triumphs! Think how absurd it would be were music treated this way (for math and music are both excursions into sensuous structure): suffer through playing your scales, and when you're an adult you'll never have to listen to music again. And this is mathematics we're talking about, the language in which, Galileo said, the Book of the World is written. This is mathematics, which reaches down into our deepest intuitions and outward toward the nature of the universe -- mathematics, which explains the atoms as well as the stars in their courses, and lets us see into the ways that rivers and arteries branch. For mathematics itself is the study of connections: how things ideally must and, in fact, do sort together -- beyond, around, and within us. It doesn't just help us to balance our checkbooks; it leads us to see the balances hidden in the tumble of events, and the shapes of those quiet symmetries behind the random clatter of things. At the same time, we come to savor it, like music, wholly for itself. Applied or pure, mathematics gives whoever enjoys it a matchless self-confidence, along with a sense of partaking in truths that follow neither from persuasion nor faith but stand foursquare on their own. This is why it appeals to what we will come back to again and again: our **architectural instinct** -- as deep in us as any of our urges.
[Math] curriculum is obsessed with jargon and nomenclature seemingly for no other purpose than to provide teachers with something to test the students on.
College is the grinding machine of the Mathematical Establishment, a conveyor belt that takes individuals from one cookie cutter to another so that the product comes within tight control limits out of the assembly line.
In my opinion, defining intelligence is much like defining beauty, and I don’t mean that it’s in the eye of the beholder. To illustrate, let’s say that you are the only beholder, and your word is final. Would you be able to choose the 1000 most beautiful women in the country? And if that sounds impossible, consider this: Say you’re now looking at your picks. Could you compare them to each other and say which one is more beautiful? For example, who is more beautiful— Katie Holmes or Angelina Jolie? How about Angelina Jolie or Catherine Zeta-Jones? I think intelligence is like this. So many factors are involved that attempts to measure it are useless. Not that IQ tests are useless. Far from it. Good tests work: They measure a variety of mental abilities, and the best tests do it well. But they don’t measure intelligence itself.
I abandoned the assigned problems in standard calculus textbooks and followed my curiosity. Wherever I happened to be--a Vegas casino, Disneyland, surfing in Hawaii, or sweating on the elliptical in Boesel's Green Microgym--I asked myself, Where is the calculus in this experience?
Please give it up. Fear it no less than the sensual passion, because it, too, may take up all your time and deprive you of your health, peace of mind and happiness in life.[Having himself spent a lifetime unsuccessfully trying to prove Euclid's postulate that parallel lines do not meet, Farkas discouraged his son János from any further attempt.]