Monday, November 26, 2007

Old mathematicians never die...

Though I am not a mathematician, I had to suffer through enough of mathematics on my way to a stillborn career in engineering to find these quotes amusing...

“Relations between pure and applied mathematicians are based on trust and understanding. Namely, pure mathematicians do not trust applied mathematicians, and applied mathematicians do not understand pure mathematicians.”

"Since the mathematicians have invaded the theory of relativity, I do not understand it myself any more." -- Albert Einstein

"Only professional mathematicians learn anything from proofs. Other people learn from explanations." -- Ralph Boas

“The highest moments in the life of a mathematician are the first few moments after one has proved the result, but before one finds the mistake.”

"It is easier to square a circle than to get round a mathematician." -- de Morgan

"Old mathematicians never die; they just pass into another field."

"Old mathematicians never die, they just tend to infinity."

“Old mathematicians never die; they just lose some of their functions”

“Old mathematicians never die; they just reduce to lowest terms.”

“Old mathematicians never die; they just disintegrate.”

“Old mathematicians never die; they just go off on a tangent.”

“Old mathematicians never die; they just get disarrayed.”

“Old mathematicians never die; they just lose their identities.”

“Old mathematicians never die; they just tend to zero.”

“Old mathematicians never die; they just become angles.”

“Old mathematicians never die; they just become irrational.”

“Old mathematicians never die; their second derivative goes to zero.”

“Old mathematicians never die; their systems just become unsolvable.”

“An engineer thinks that his equations are an approximation to reality. A physicist thinks reality is an approximation to his equations. A mathematician doesn't care. “

“A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems.” -- Paul Erdos

“A topologist is a person who doesn't know the difference between a coffee cup and a doughnut.”

"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

“There are three kinds of mathematicians; those who can count and those who can't.”

“To a mathematician, real life is a special case.”

"To think logically the logically thinkable -- that is the mathematician's aim."--C. J. Keyser

"Everyone knows what a curve is, until he has studied enough mathematics to become confused through the countless number of possible exceptions." -- Felix Klein

"No more fiction, for now we calculate; but that we may calculate, we had to make fiction first." -- Friedrich Nietzsche

"How happy the lot of the mathematician. He is judged solely by his peers, and the standard is so high that no colleague or rival can ever win a reputation he does not deserve." -- W.H. Auden

"Two and two the mathematician continues to make four, in spite of the whine of the amateur for three, or the cry of the critic for five." -- James McNeill Whistler

"I have hardly ever known a mathematician who was capable of reasoning." -- Plato

"You know we all became mathematicians for the same reason: we were lazy." -- Max Rosenlicht

"The mathematician's patterns, like the painter's or poet's, must be beautiful. The ideas, like the colors or the words, must fit together in a harmonious way. Beauty is the first test: There is no permanent place in the world for ugly mathematics.”-- G. H. Hardy

"The mathematician does not study pure mathematics because it is useful; he studies it because he delights in it and he delights in it because it is beautiful." -- Henri Poincare

"The mathematician's best work is art, a high perfect art, as daring as the most secret dreams of imagination, clear and limpid. Mathematical genius and artistic genius touch one another."-- Gosta Mittag-Leffler

"The life of a mathematician is dominated by an insatiable curiosity, a desire bordering on passion to solve the problems he is studying." -- Jean Dieudonne

"A surprising proportion of mathematicians are accomplished musicians. Is it because music and mathematics share patterns that are beautiful?" -- Martin Gardner

"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

"Some mathematician, I believe, has said that true pleasure lies not in the discovery of truth, but in the search for it." -- Tolstoy

"A mathematician's reputation rests on the number of bad proofs he has given." -- A. S. Besicovitch


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