# Eric Temple Bell Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 18 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Eric Temple Bell.

These estimates may well be enhanced by one from F. Klein (1849-1925), the leading German mathematician of the last quarter of the nineteenth century. 'Mathematics in general is fundamentally the science of self-evident things.' ... If mathematics is indeed the science of self-evident things, mathematicians are a phenomenally stupid lot to waste the tons of good paper they do in proving the fact. Mathematics is abstract and it is hard, and any assertion that it is simple is true only in a severely technical sense - that of the modern postulational method which, as a matter of fact, was exploited by Euclid. The assumptions from which mathematics starts are simple; the rest is not. — **Eric Temple Bell**

Abstractness, sometimes hurled as a reproach at mathematics, is its chief glory and its surest title to practical usefulness. It is also the source of such beauty as may spring from mathematics. — **Eric Temple Bell**

Even stranger things have happened; and perhaps the strangest of all is the marvel that mathematics should be possible to a race akin to the apes. — **Eric Temple Bell**

Any impatient student of mathematics or science or engineering who is irked by having algebraic symbolism thrust upon him should try to get along without it for a week. — **Eric Temple Bell**

The full impact of the Lobachevskian method of challenging axioms has probably yet to be felt. It is no exaggeration to call Lobachevsky the Copernicus of Geometry [as did Clifford], for geometry is only a part of the vaster domain which he renovated; it might even be just to designate him as a Copernicus of all thought. — **Eric Temple Bell**

Pick the assumptions to pieces till the stuff they are made of is exposed to plain view - this is the cardinal rule for understanding the basis of our beliefs. — **Eric Temple Bell**

If a lunatic scribbles a jumble of mathematical symbols it does not follow that the writing means anything merely because to the inexpert eye it is indistinguishable from higher mathematics. — **Eric Temple Bell**

If "Number rules the universe" as Pythagoras asserted, Number is merely our delegate to the throne, for we rule Number. — **Eric Temple Bell**

The very basis of creative work is irreverence! The very basis of creative work is bold experimentation. There has never been a creator of lasting importance who has not also been an innovator. — **Eric Temple Bell**

Wherever groups disclosed themselves, or could be introduced, simplicity crystallized out of comparative chaos. — **Eric Temple Bell**

In his wretched life of less than twenty-seven years Abel accomplished so much of the highest order that one of the leading mathematicians of the Nineteenth Century (Hermite, 1822-1901) could say without exaggeration, 'Abel has left mathematicians enough to keep them busy for five hundred years.' Asked how he had done all this in the six or seven years of his working life, Abel replied, 'By studying the masters, not the pupils. — **Eric Temple Bell**

[As a young teenager] Galois read Legendre]'s geometry from cover to cover as easily as other boys read a pirate yarn. — **Eric Temple Bell**

This queer crotchet [of Hamilton's] that algebra is the science of pure time has attracted many philosophers, and quite recently it has been exhumed and solemnly dissected by owlish metaphysicians seeking the philosopher's stone in the gall bladder of mathematics. — **Eric Temple Bell**

Archimedes, Newton, and Gauss, these three, are in a class by

themselves among the great mathematicians, and it is not for

ordinary mortals to attempt to range them in order of merit. — **Eric Temple Bell**

The hippopotamus is said to have a tender heart by those who have eaten that delicacy baked, so a thick skin is not necessarily a reliable index to what is inside the man. — **Eric Temple Bell**

Nevertheless, the consuming hunger of the uncritical mind for what it imagines to be certainty or finality impels it to feast upon shadows in the prevailing famine of substance. — **Eric Temple Bell**