# John Von Neumann Mathematics Quotes & Sayings

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If people do not believe that mathematics is simple, it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is. — **John Von Neumann**

When we talk mathematics, we may be discussing a secondary language built on the primary language of the nervous system. — **John Von Neumann**

The calculus was the first achievement of modern mathematics and it is difficult to overestimate its importance. I think it defines more unequivocally than anything else the inception of modern mathematics; and the system of mathematical analysis, which is its logical development, still constitutes the greatest technical advance in exact thinking. — **John Von Neumann**

The spectacular thing about Johnny [von Neumann] was not his power as a mathematician, which was great, or his insight and his clarity, but his rapidity; he was very, very fast. And like the modern computer, which no longer bothers to retrieve the logarithm of 11 from its memory (but, instead, computes the logarithm of 11 each time it is needed), Johnny didn't bother to remember things. He computed them. You asked him a question, and if he didn't know the answer, he thought for three seconds and would produce and answer. — **Paul R. Halmos**

By and large it is uniformly true that in mathematics there is a time lapse between a mathematical discovery and the moment it becomes useful; and that this lapse can be anything from 30 to 100 years, in some cases even more; and that the whole system seems to function without any direction, without any reference to usefulness, and without any desire to do things which are useful. — **John Von Neumann**

The total subject of mathematics is clearly too broad for any of us. I do not think that any mathematician since Gauss has covered it uniformly and fully; even Hilbert did not and all of us are of considerably lesser width quite apart from the question of depth than Hilbert. — **John Von Neumann**

In mathematics you don't understand things. You just get used to them. - John von Neumann — **Ray Kurzweil**

The most vitally characteristic fact about mathematics is, in my opinion, its quite peculiar relationship to the natural sciences, or more generally, to any science which interprets experience on a higher than purely descriptive level. — **John Von Neumann**

It is exceptional that one should be able to acquire the understanding of a process without having previously acquired a deep familiarity with running it, with using it, before one has assimilated it in an instinctive and empirical way ... Thus any discussion of the nature of intellectual effort in any field is difficult, unless it presupposes an easy, routine familiarity with that field. In mathematics this limitation becomes very severe. — **John Von Neumann**

Young man, in mathematics you don't understand things. You just get used to them. — **John Von Neumann**

The emphasis on mathematical methods seems to be shifted more towards combinatorics and set theory - and away from the algorithm of differential equations which dominates mathematical physics. — **John Von Neumann**