# Mathematicians And Their Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy reading and share 53 **famous quotes about Mathematicians And Their** with everyone.

## Top Mathematicians And Their Quotes

It was love, she thought, pretending to move her canvas, distilled and filtered; love that never attempted to clutch its object; but, like the love which mathematicians bear their symbols, or poets their phrases, was meant to be spread over the world and become part of the human gain. — **Virginia Woolf**

And in that same way, law school breaks a mind down. Novelists, poets, and artists don't often do well in law school, but neither, necessarily, do mathematicians, logicians and scientists. The first group fails because their logic is their own; the second fails because logic is all they own. — **Hanya Yanagihara**

Connections? I will tell you about connections . . . An amateur German physicist works in a patent office in Bern in Switzerland. He comes up with a theory that, half a century later, will lead to whole Japanese cities being destroyed, along with much of their population. Husbands, wives, sons, daughters. He does not want that connection to form, but that does not stop it forming.'

'You're talking about something very different.'

'No. No, I am not. This is a planet where a daydream can end in death, and where mathematicians can cause an apocalypse. That is my view of the humans. Is it any different from yours? — **Matt Haig**

Although I am even now still a layman in the area of mathematics, and although I lack theoretical knowledge, the mathematicians, and in particular the crystallographers, have had considerable influence on my work of the last twenty years. The laws of the phenomena around us

order, regularity, cyclical repetition, and renewals

have assumed greater and greater importance for me. The awareness of their presence gives me peace and provides me with support. I try in my prints to testify that we live in a beautiful and orderly world, and not in a formless chaos, as it sometimes seems. — **M.C. Escher**

Mathematicians have never been in full agreement on their science, though it is said to be the science of self-evident verities

absolute, indisputable and definitive. They have always been in controversy over developing aspects of mathematics, and they have always considered their own age to be in a period of crisis. — **Henri Lebesgue**

They [the mathematicians of the Enlightenment] defined their terms vaguely and used their methods loosely, and the logic of their arguments was made to fit the dictates of their intuition. In short, they broke all the laws of rigor and of mathematical decorum. The veritable orgy which followed the introduction of the infinitesimals ... was but a natural reaction. Intuition had too long been held imprisoned by the severe rigor of the Greeks. Now it broke loose, and there were no Euclids to keep its romantic flight in check. — **Tobias Dantzig**

Nature seems very conversant with the rules of pure mathematics, as our own mathematicians have formulated them in their studies, out of their own inner consciousness and without drawing to any appreciable extent on their experience of the outer world. — **James Jeans**

And while the black women are the most hidden of the mathematicians who worked at the NACA, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, and later at NASA, they were not sitting alone in the shadows: the white women who made up the majority of Langley's computing workforce over the years have hardly been recognized for their contributions to the agency's long-term success. Virginia Biggins worked the Langley beat for the Daily Press newspaper, covering the space program starting in 1958. "Everyone said, 'This is a scientist, this is an engineer,' and it was always a man," she said in a 1990 panel on Langley's human computers. She never got to meet any of the women. "I just assumed they were all secretaries," she said. Five — **Margot Lee Shetterly**

It is well known that geometry presupposes not only the concept of space but also the first fundamental notions for constructions in space as given in advance. It only gives nominal definitions for them, while the essential means of determining them appear in the form of axioms. The relationship of these presumptions is left in the dark; one sees neither whether and in how far their connection is necessary, nor a priori whether it is possible. From Euclid to Legendre, to name the most renowned of modern writers on geometry, this darkness has been lifted neither by the mathematicians nor the philosophers who have laboured upon it. — **Bernhard Riemann**

Mathematicians are a kind of Frenchman. They translate into their own language whatever is said to them and forthwith the thing is utterly changed. — **Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe**

Mathematicians boast of their exacting achievements, but in reality they are absorbed in mental acrobatics and contribute nothing to society. — **Ogyu Sorai**

Each generation has its few great mathematicians, and mathematics would not even notice the absence of the others. They are useful as teachers, and their research harms no one, but it is of no importance at all. A mathematician is great or he is nothing. — **Alfred Adler**

Some time after, asking a friend at court how they came to fix on that determinate number, he told me that his majesty's mathematicians, having taken the height of my body by the help of a quadrant, and finding it to exceed theirs in the proportion of twelve to one, they concluded from the similarity of their bodies, that mine must contain at least 1724 of theirs, and consequently would require as much food as was necessary to support that number of Lilliputians. By — **Jonathan Swift**

In the company of friends, writers can discuss their books, economists the state of the economy, lawyers their latest cases, and businessmen their latest acquisitions, but mathematicians cannot discuss their mathematics at all. And the more profound their work, the less understandable it is. — **Alfred Adler**

We find sects and parties in most branches of science; and disputes which are carried on from age to age, without being brought to an issue. Sophistry has been more effectually excluded from mathematics and natural philosophy than from other sciences. In mathematics it had no place from the beginning; mathematicians having had the wisdom to define accurately the terms they use, and to lay down, as axioms, the first principles on which their reasoning is grounded. Accordingly, we find no parties among mathematicians, and hardly any disputes. — **Thomas Reid**

Our account does not rob the mathematicians of their science ... In point of fact they do not need the infinite and do not use it. — **Aristotle.**

Answer my question: Why do smart people tend to be stupid?" "Because we think we know better. We think that our intellect affords us special privileges and lets us beat the odds. That's why talented mathematicians try to defraud casinos and young brilliant mages make bargains with forces beyond their control. — **Jeaniene Frost**

Another factor: Christianity offered opportunities for advancement in the church to intelligent young men, some of whom might otherwise have become mathematicians or scientists. Bishops and presbyters were generally exempt from the jurisdiction of the ordinary civil courts, and from taxation. A bishop such as Cyril of Alexandria or Ambrose of Milan could exercise considerable political power, much more than a scholar at the Museum in Alexandria or the Academy in Athens. This was something new. Under paganism religious offices had gone to men of wealth or political power, rather than wealth and power going to men of religion. For instance, Julius Caesar and his successors won the office of supreme pontiff, not as a recognition of piety or learning, but as a consequence of their political power. — **Steven Weinberg**

A Noah's Ark of mathematicians, their lives, loves, hard times, and madnesses, Loving and Hating Mathematics shows our community with all its warts as well as its triumphs. I especially liked the chapter on much-hated school mathematics, 'Almost All Children Left Behind.' — **David Mumford**

But as no two (theoreticians) agree on this (skin friction) or any other subject, some not agreeing today with what they wrote a year ago, I think we might put down all their results, add them together, and then divide by the number of mathematicians, and thus find the average coefficient of error. (1908) — **Hiram Maxim**

Mathematicians come to the solution of a problem by the simple arrangement of the data, and reducing the reasoning to such simple operations, to judgments so brief, that they never lose sight of the evidence that serves as their guide. — **Antoine Lavoisier**

Mathematicians themselves set up standards of generality and elegance in their exposition which are a bar to understand. — **Kenneth E. Boulding**

But what exceeds all wonders, I have discovered four new planets and observed their proper and particular motions, different among themselves and from the motions of all the other stars; and these new planets move about another very large star [Jupiter] like Venus and Mercury, and perchance the other known planets, move about the Sun. As soon as this tract, which I shall send to all the philosophers and mathematicians as an announcement, is finished, I shall send a copy to the Most Serene Grand Duke, together with an excellent spyglass, so that he can verify all these truths. — **Galileo Galilei**

Games are among the most interesting creations of the human mind, and the analysis of their structure is full of adventure and surprises. Unfortunately there is never a lack of mathematicians for the job of transforming delectable ingredients into a dish that tastes like a damp blanket. — **James R Newman**

The solvable systems are the ones shown in textbooks. They behave. Confronted with a nonlinear system, scientists would have to substitute linear approximations or find some other uncertain backdoor approach. Textbooks showed students only the rare non-linear systems that would give way to such techniques. They did not display sensitive dependence on initial conditions. Nonlinear systems with real chaos were rarely taught and rarely learned. When people stumbled across such things-and people did-all their training argued for dismissing them as aberrations. Only a few were able to remember that the solvable, orderly, linear systems were the aberrations. Only a few, that is, understood how nonlinear nature is in its soul. Enrico Fermi once exclaimed, "It does not say in the Bible that all laws of nature are expressible linearly!" The mathematicians Stanislaw Ulam remarked that to call the study of chaos "nonlinear science" was like calling zoology "the study of nonelephant animals. — **James Gleick**

Guided only by their feeling for symmetry, simplicity, and generality, and an indefinable sense of the fitness of things, creative mathematicians now, as in the past, are inspired by the art of mathematics rather than by any prospect of ultimate usefulness. — **E. T. Bell**

How did Biot arrive at the partial differential equation? [the heat conduction equation] ... Perhaps Laplace gave Biot the equation and left him to sink or swim for a few years in trying to derive it. That would have been merely an instance of the way great mathematicians since the very beginnings of mathematical research have effortlessly maintained their superiority over ordinary mortals. — **Clifford A. Truesdell**

Mathematics is a world created by the mind of men, and mathematicians are people who devote their lives to what seems to me a wonderful kind of play! — **Constance Reid**

I am very glad there are quite a number of people born with a gift and a liking for all of this; like great chessplayers who play sixteen games at once blindfold and die quite soon of epilepsy. Serve them right! I hope the Mathematicians, however, are well rewarded. I promise never to blackleg their profession nor take the bread out of their mouths. — **Winston Churchill**

In terms of the mathematician's beliefs about the nature of mathematics and its influence on their research, the study revealed that four of the mathematicians leaned towards Platonism, in contrast to the popular notion that Platonism is an exception today. A detailed discussion of this aspect of the research is beyond the scope of this paper; however, I have found that beliefs regarding the nature of mathematics not only influenced how these mathematicians conducted research but also were deeply connected to their theological beliefs (Sriraman, 2004a). — **Bharath Sriraman**

Mathematicians are like Frenchmen: whatever you say to them they translate into their own language and forthwith it is something entirely different. — **Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe**

On sighting mathematicians poetry should unhook the algebra from their minds and replace it with poetry; on sighting poets it should unhook poetry from their minds and replace it with algebra. — **Brian Patten**

Today, you have neuroscientists working on a genetic, behavioural or cognitive level, and then you have informaticians, chemists and mathematicians. They all have their own understanding of how the brain functions and is structured. How do you get them all around the same table? — **Henry Markram**

It was love, she thought, love that never clutch its object; but, like the love which mathematicians bear their symbols, or poets their phrases, was meant to be spread over the world and become part of human gain. The world by all means should have shared it, could Mr Bankes have said why that woman pleased him so; why the sight of her reading a fairy tale to her boy had upon him precisely the same effect as the solution of a scientific problem. — **Virginia Woolf**

The discovery in 1846 of the planet Neptune was a dramatic and spectacular achievement of mathematical astronomy. The very existence of this new member of the solar system, and its exact location, were demonstrated with pencil and paper; there was left to observers only the routine task of pointing their telescopes at the spot the mathematicians had marked. — **James R Newman**

It is impossible to study the works of the great mathematicians, or even those of the lesser, without noticing and distinguishing two opposite tendencies, or rather two entirely different kinds of minds. The one sort are above all preoccupied with logic; to read their works, one is tempted to believe they have advanced only step by step, after the manner of a Vauban who pushes on his trenches against the place besieged, leaving nothing to chance. The other sort are guided by intuition and at the first stroke make quick but sometimes precarious conquests, like bold cavalrymen of the advance guard.

[1913, p210] — **Henri Poincare**

Proof then, has retreated in the face of belief. Science, once heralded as the arbiter of truth, has had its facade of objectivity punctured. Intellectuals may point to the uncertainty of Heisenberg, but generally this has more to do with the growing distrust of statistics and the knowledge that scientists in the pay of governments and multi-nationals are no more objective than their masters. Science, once the avowed enemy of religion, now sees books BT Christian physicists and Taoist mathematicians. Science sells washing powders and status symbols and comes in the form of icons of technological nostalgia. — **Phil Hine**

So long as mathematicians can impose up-and-down semantics upon students while trafficking personally in the non-up-and-down advantages of their concise statements, they can impose upon the

ignorance of man a monopoly of access to accurate processing of information and can fool even themselves by thought habits governing the becoming behavior of professional specialists, by

disclaiming the necessity of, or responsibility for, comprehensive adjustment of the a priori thought to total reality of universal principles. — **R. Buckminster Fuller**

As for mathematicians themselves: don't expect too much help. Most of them are too far removed in their ivory towers to take up such challenges. And anyway, they are not competent. After all, they are just mathematicians-what we need is paramathematicians, like you ... It is you who can be the welding force, between mathematicians and stories, in order to achieve the synthesis. — **Apostolos Doxiadis**

If there should chance to be any mathematicians who, ignorant in mathematics yet pretending to skill in that science, should dare, upon the authority of some passage of Scripture wrested to their purpose, to condemn and censure my hypothesis, I value them not, and scorn their inconsiderate judgement.

De Revolutionibus Coelestibus — **Nicolaus Copernicus**

Nevertheless, many of these models encoded human prejudice, misunderstanding, and bias into the software systems that increasingly managed our lives. Like gods, these mathematical models were opaque, their workings invisible to all but the highest priests in their domain: mathematicians and computer scientists. Their verdicts, even when wrong or harmful, were beyond dispute or appeal. And — **Cathy O'Neil**

The math-powered applications powering the data economy were based on choices made by fallible human beings. Some of these choices were no doubt made with the best intentions. Nevertheless, many of these models encoded human prejudice, misunderstanding, and bias into the software systems that increasingly managed our lives. Like gods, these mathematical models were opaque, their workings invisible to all but the highest priests in their domain: mathematicians and computer scientists. Their verdicts, even when wrong or harmful, were beyond dispute or appeal. And they tended to punish the poor and the oppressed in our society, while making the rich richer. — **Cathy O'Neil**

I constantly meet people who are doubtful, generally without due reason, about their potential capacity [as mathematicians]. The first test is whether you got anything out of geometry. To have disliked or failed to get on with other [mathematical] subjects need mean nothing; much drill and drudgery is unavoidable before they can get started, and bad teaching can make them unintelligible even to a born mathematician. — **John Edensor Littlewood**

We need scientists and mathematicians explaining why they are excited about their subjects but also why they are important for solving social problems, informing political debate and for the economy. — **Marcus Du Sautoy**

Mathematicians are finite, flawed beings who spend their lives trying to understand the infinite and perfect. — **Bruce Schechter**

The world ain't ready for true black genius. In every nigger is a cup of African blood from kings and queens of divine nature, mathematicians, craftsmen, men and women of the land. I have known some sisters and brothers would scare Einstein back into East European caves with the magnificence of their minds. We are a people with a practical nature and great vision. We have built nations, discovered treasures for everyday use. Our people are a great race of people, and though the Europeans raped and plundered, we have kept inner riches. You got a cup of African blood and that mean something, means you got a responsibility to be proud of it and use your talents or suffer self-destruction. — **Shay Youngblood**

The main duty of the historian of mathematics, as well as his fondest privilege, is to explain the humanity of mathematics, to illustrate its greatness, beauty and dignity, and to describe how the incessant efforts and accumulated genius of many generations have built up that magnificent monument, the object of our most legitimate pride as men, and of our wonder, humility and thankfulness, as individuals. The study of the history of mathematics will not make better mathematicians but gentler ones, it will enrich their minds, mellow their hearts, and bring out their finer qualities. — **George Sarton**

Silicon Valley, "the largest legal creation of wealth in history," was built largely by unprofessional amateurs using math, sand, and the institutions of freedom. The Soviet Union had the greatest mathematicians on earth, and plenty of sand, but without the institutions of freedom their brilliant mathematicians were not empowered to create those devices that are changing the world. — **Michael Strong**

One of the most painful parts of teaching mathematics is seeing students damaged by the cult of the genius. The genius cult tells students it's not worth doing mathematics unless you're the best at mathematics, because those special few are the only ones whose contributions matter. We don't treat any other subject that way! I've never heard a student say, "I like Hamlet, but I don't really belong in AP English - that kid who sits in the front row knows all the plays, and he started reading Shakespeare when he was nine!" Athletes don't quit their sport just because one of their teammates outshines them. And yet I see promising young mathematicians quit every year, even though they love mathematics, because someone in their range of vision was "ahead" of them. — **Jordan Ellenberg**

The final story of randomness - utter chaos - has not yet been told to us by the mathematicians. It seems remarkable that something so fundamental for probability theory has not been defined and even more remarkable that we can go so far in mathematics lacking a definition. By simply assuming randomness exists, mathematicians assign elementary probabilities to events, and that is their starting point. But they have not captured chaos and looked it in the eye. — **Heinz R. Pagels**

In the broad light of day mathematicians check their equations and their proofs, leaving no stone unturned in their search for rigour. But, at night, under the full moon, they dream, they float among the stars and wonder at the miracle of the heavens. They are inspired. Without dreams there is no art, no mathematics, no life. — **Michael Atiyah**

We must establish all over the country schools of our own to train our own children to become scientists, to become mathematicians. We must realize the need for adult education and for job retraining programs that will emphasize a changing society in which automation plays the key role. We intend to use the tools of education to help raise our people to an unprecedented level of excellence and self respect through their own efforts. — **Malcolm X**

[writing to Stirling in 1740]

... an unlucky accident happened to some of the French mathematicians in Peru. It seems that they were shewing French gallantry to the natives' wives, who have murdered their servants destroyed their instruments and burnt their papers, the Gentlemen escaping narrowly themselves. What an ugly article this will make in a journal. — **Colin Maclaurin**