Famous Math Quotes!
Moderators: gmalivuk, Moderators General, Prelates
Famous Math Quotes!
It doesn't appear we have a thread for this yet, but I saw a few good ones in "Math Jokes"
A few of my favorite are attributed to John von Neumann:
"In mathematics you don't understand things. You just get used to them."
and,
"If people do not believe that mathematics is simple, it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is."
A few of my favorite are attributed to John von Neumann:
"In mathematics you don't understand things. You just get used to them."
and,
"If people do not believe that mathematics is simple, it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is."
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
"A mathematician is a machine for turning coffee into theorems." Commonly attributed to P. Erdos.
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
"In Hilbert space, no one can hear you scream."
And my current sig: "What they (mathematicians) define as interesting depends on their particular field of study; mathematical anaylsts find pain and extreme confusion interesting, whereas geometers are interested in beauty."
And my current sig: "What they (mathematicians) define as interesting depends on their particular field of study; mathematical anaylsts find pain and extreme confusion interesting, whereas geometers are interested in beauty."
What they (mathematicians) define as interesting depends on their particular field of study; mathematical anaylsts find pain and extreme confusion interesting, whereas geometers are interested in beauty.
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"  Sherlock Holmes
double epsilon = .0000001;
 skeptical scientist
 closedminded spiritualist
 Posts: 6142
 Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2006 6:09 am UTC
 Location: San Francisco
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
z4lis wrote:"In Hilbert space, no one can hear you scream."
And my current sig: "What they (mathematicians) define as interesting depends on their particular field of study; mathematical anaylsts find pain and extreme confusion interesting, whereas geometers are interested in beauty."
Could you post the source along with the quote if you know it?
One of my sigs for a long time was this quote: "If a 'religion' is defined to be a system of ideas that contains unprovable statements, then Gödel taught us that mathematics is not only a religion, it is the only religion that can prove itself to be one." —John Barrow
I also found a few other good ones in googling the exact phrasing of that quote:
"Obvious is the most dangerous word in mathematics." —E. T. Bell
"I hate algebra." —John H. Conway (Invited AMS address, Toronto, 9/23/00)
"Numbers is hardly real and they never have feelings,
but you push too hard, even numbers got limits.
Why did one straw break the camel's back? Here's the secret:
the million other straws underneath it. It's all mathematics." —Mos Def
I'm looking forward to the day when the SNES emulator on my computer works by emulating the elementary particles in an actual, physical box with Nintendo stamped on the side.
"With math, all things are possible." —Rebecca Watson
"With math, all things are possible." —Rebecca Watson
 Talith
 Proved the Goldbach Conjecture
 Posts: 848
 Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2008 1:28 am UTC
 Location: Manchester  UK
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
Richar P. FeynmanThere is a computer disease that anybody who works with computers knows about. It's a very serious disease and it interferes completely with the work. The trouble with computers is that you 'play' with them!
 TheTedinator
 Posts: 62
 Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 6:43 am UTC
 Location: Oregon
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
Dason wrote:"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"  Sherlock Holmes
Is that an actual (Conan Doylewritten) quote or is it just from the new movie?
Webcomics I enjoy:
 mmmcannibalism
 Posts: 2150
 Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 6:16 am UTC
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
TheTedinator wrote:Dason wrote:"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"  Sherlock Holmes
Is that an actual (Conan Doylewritten) quote or is it just from the new movie?
I can say that it(at least the general phrasing not literal wording) is definitely pre movie.
Izawwlgood wrote:I for one would happily live on an island as a fuzzy sealhuman.
Oregonaut wrote:Damn fetuses and their terroist plots.
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
I thought Spock said it, not Sherlock Holmes...
Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas. Albert Einstein
Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas. Albert Einstein
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
I remember an episode of Jimmy Neutron where they said that, referencing Sherlock Holmes. So, it definitely wasn't only in the new movie, but may not have been in an actual Sherlock Holmes book.
 majikthise
 Posts: 155
 Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2007 2:28 am UTC
 Location: Bristol, UK
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
It was in the books. The quote which is frequently misattributed to the books is "elementary, my dear Watson".
Is this a wok that you've shoved down my throat, or are you just pleased to see me?
 skeptical scientist
 closedminded spiritualist
 Posts: 6142
 Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2006 6:09 am UTC
 Location: San Francisco
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
mmmcannibalism wrote:TheTedinator wrote:Dason wrote:"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"  Sherlock Holmes
Is that an actual (Conan Doylewritten) quote or is it just from the new movie?
I can say that it(at least the general phrasing not literal wording) is definitely pre movie.
Wikiquote lists at least four variations on it, with page numbers from the original stories, so it's clearly due to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself. The wording varies slightly from appearance to appearance, so it gets quoted slightly differently each time. The phrasing in my memory is, "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth," but I'm not sure if that exact wording appears anywhere.
I'm looking forward to the day when the SNES emulator on my computer works by emulating the elementary particles in an actual, physical box with Nintendo stamped on the side.
"With math, all things are possible." —Rebecca Watson
"With math, all things are possible." —Rebecca Watson
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
skeptical scientist wrote:"Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth," but I'm not sure if that exact wording appears anywhere.
That is the wording I am most familiar with. It definitely applies to math and science. Like Einstein. The only way he could reconcile some different findings was to mess with time. It's crazy, but it works.
 Magnanimous
 Madmanananimous
 Posts: 3491
 Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:11 pm UTC
 Location: Land of Hipsters and Rain (LOHAR)
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
“The highest form of pure thought is in mathematics”  Plato
“I like mathematics because it is not human and has nothing particular to do with this planet or with the whole accidental universe  because, like Spinoza's God, it won't love us in return.”  Bertrand Russell
“I like mathematics because it is not human and has nothing particular to do with this planet or with the whole accidental universe  because, like Spinoza's God, it won't love us in return.”  Bertrand Russell
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
"Wir müssen wissen — wir werden wissen!"  Hilbert
"Read Euler, read Euler, he is the master of us all."  Laplace
"Mathematics is the queen of sciences and number theory is the queen of mathematics."  Gauss
And there is a great one which I believe to be due to Russell but can't find along the lines of:
"Since we started proving the most elementary truths we have found many of them to be wrong."
"Read Euler, read Euler, he is the master of us all."  Laplace
"Mathematics is the queen of sciences and number theory is the queen of mathematics."  Gauss
And there is a great one which I believe to be due to Russell but can't find along the lines of:
"Since we started proving the most elementary truths we have found many of them to be wrong."
"I conclude that all is well," says Edipus, and that remark is sacred.
 Camus, The Myth of Sysiphus
Mental Health Break
 Camus, The Myth of Sysiphus
Mental Health Break
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
for every complex problem there is a solution that is simple, neat and wrong  Mencken

 Posts: 42
 Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 6:15 pm UTC
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
Certhas wrote:"Wir müssen wissen — wir werden wissen!"  Hilbert
"Nope" Godel
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
Bertrand Russell said he had written nothing about aesthetic because he knew nothing about it. I'm not sure either part is true.
'The true spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense of being more than Man, which is the touchstone of highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics as surely as in poetry.' ~Russell
'Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty — a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show.' ~Russell
'Mathematics takes us still further from what is human, into the region of absolute necessity, to which not only the world, but every possible world, must conform.' ~Russell
'In adolescence, I hated life and was continually on the verge of suicide, from which, however, I was restrained by the desire to know more mathematics.' ~Still Russell (though this one is from Conquest of Happiness, not the Study of Mathematics)
'Gödel turned out to be an unadulterated Platonist, and apparently believed that an eternal 'not' was laid up in heaven, where virtuous logicians might hope to meet it hereafter.' ~Russell's Autobiography (and not quite true as Gödel replied)
And why not, someone other than Bertrand Russell:
'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. . . . The mathematician’s patterns, like the painter’s or the poet’s must be beautiful; the ideas like the colours 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
A sentimental thought before I go:
'You don't have to believe in God, but you should believe in The Book.' ~Paul Erdős
(This page says the coffeetheorem quote is actually Renyi, not Erdos? http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Paul_Erd%C ... attributed )
'The true spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense of being more than Man, which is the touchstone of highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics as surely as in poetry.' ~Russell
'Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty — a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show.' ~Russell
'Mathematics takes us still further from what is human, into the region of absolute necessity, to which not only the world, but every possible world, must conform.' ~Russell
'In adolescence, I hated life and was continually on the verge of suicide, from which, however, I was restrained by the desire to know more mathematics.' ~Still Russell (though this one is from Conquest of Happiness, not the Study of Mathematics)
'Gödel turned out to be an unadulterated Platonist, and apparently believed that an eternal 'not' was laid up in heaven, where virtuous logicians might hope to meet it hereafter.' ~Russell's Autobiography (and not quite true as Gödel replied)
And why not, someone other than Bertrand Russell:
'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. . . . The mathematician’s patterns, like the painter’s or the poet’s must be beautiful; the ideas like the colours 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
A sentimental thought before I go:
'You don't have to believe in God, but you should believe in The Book.' ~Paul Erdős
(This page says the coffeetheorem quote is actually Renyi, not Erdos? http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Paul_Erd%C ... attributed )
I came here to read a cool post, a witty dialogue, a fresh joke, but stumbled upon a "bump"...
Way to go, jerk... ~CordlessPen
Way to go, jerk... ~CordlessPen

 Posts: 117
 Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 2:17 am UTC
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
"The above proposition [2+2=4] is occasionally useful."
Principia Mathematica
Principia Mathematica
spjork.
 BlackSails
 Posts: 5315
 Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2007 5:48 am UTC
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
Mathematicians can only prove trivial things, because everything proven is trivial  Richard Feynman

 Posts: 35
 Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:01 am UTC
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
This one was at the beginning of a chapter of the Prob book I checked out (Koshnevisan):
"Experimentalists think that it is a mathematical theorem, while mathematicians believe it to be an experimental fact."~Gabriel Lippman, in a discussion with J. J. Poincare about the Central Limit Theorem
Also,
"Left as an exercise to the reader."~Every text I've ever had that didn't use the terser parenthetical "(Prove!)"
"Experimentalists think that it is a mathematical theorem, while mathematicians believe it to be an experimental fact."~Gabriel Lippman, in a discussion with J. J. Poincare about the Central Limit Theorem
Also,
"Left as an exercise to the reader."~Every text I've ever had that didn't use the terser parenthetical "(Prove!)"
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
This was on the wall of my Algebra teacher's classroom.
“From the intrinsic evidence of his creation, the Great Architect of the Universe now begins to appear as a pure mathematician.” James Jeans
“From the intrinsic evidence of his creation, the Great Architect of the Universe now begins to appear as a pure mathematician.” James Jeans
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
Not really a "math" quote but what the hell.
From a D&D book.
"Draconic is the language of magic. Celestial and infernal, the languages of the gods. I speak math, the very language of creation itself"  Geometer
edit: (The wordfilter somehow takes the essence away... xD)
edit 2: I hate you
From a D&D book.
"Draconic is the language of magic. Celestial and infernal, the languages of the gods. I speak math, the very language of creation itself"  Geometer
edit: (The wordfilter somehow takes the essence away... xD)
edit 2: I hate you
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
skeptical scientist wrote:One of my sigs for a long time was this quote: "If a 'religion' is defined to be a system of ideas that contains unprovable statements, then Gödel taught us that mathematics is not only a religion, it is the only religion that can prove itself to be one." —John Barrow
Wow. I love this one! Never heard it before.
Creator of the Frosted Bacon webcomic.
 Indubitable.
 Posts: 13
 Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 4:56 pm UTC
 Location: Scotland
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
TheTedinator wrote:"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"  Sherlock Holmes
Whenever I see/hear this quote, I cannot help but be reminded of Douglas Adams' novel Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, specifically this quote (for which I just dug out my copy):
Dirk Gently (née Cjelli) wrote:Sherlock Holmes observed that once you have eliminated the impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the answer. I, however, do not like to eliminate the impossible.
This is further expanded upon in the second novel in the duology, The Long Dark TeaTime Of The Soul:
[spoilered for length]
Spoiler:
In short, one ought not to discount the impossible in favour of the improbable because the impossible implies that there is some unknown force at work whereas the improbable runs against something about which we DO know.
At least, this is the case when it comes to human nature/pseudomagical powers/etc.
My bass is called Rosa and I love her lots. <3
8Bit Theater wrote:WM: Ok, an orphanage is on fire, what do you
BM: Use FIRE3 to torch the building and then pick off any survivors with BOLT2 set to a wide dispersal.
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
"I can't say I'm surprised. I never thought he had enough imagination to be a mathematician."  David Hilbert after being told one of his students dropped out to study poetry.
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
Hilbert was cool. I've always loved his retort against his colleagues who didn't want Emmy Noether to work at Gottingen:
Zimaths wrote:It is a sad fact that there are few women in mathematics, so few that sometimes you wonder if the ones you hear of are considered to be great only as a condescension to their gender. But not Amalie Emmy Noether. Once when Edward Landau was asked if he would agree to the statement that she was a great woman mathematician, he reversed the question: ``I can testify that she is a great mathematician, but that she is a woman, I cannot swear.'' (this seemingly chauvinistic statement should be seen in the context of the times)
She was born in 1882, the eldest of eleven children. Her dad, Max Noether, was a mathematics professor at the University of Erlangen. She had a normal childhood  complete with school, housework and dancing  and qualified at 18 to be a English and French teacher. But she wanted to go to university, no easy task in the Germany of 1900! Eventually she became half of the entire female population of the thousand students at Erlangen, earning a doctorate in 1907.
Till 1916, she worked (without pay since only men could be employed) as a researcher at the Mathematical Institute in Erlangen, giving seminars and sometimes substituting for her aging father in lectures. Then she moved to Gottingen, where the great mathematicians David Hilbert and Felix Klein tried desperately to get her a formal position. But the road was blocked by narrowminded members of the Prussian establishment, prompting Hilbert to angrily say:
``I do not see that the sex of the candidate is an argument against her admission as Privatdozent (lecturer). After all, we are a university, not a bathing establishment.''
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
"I wouldn't describe myself as being particularly fanatical about mathematical induction, but it is rather cute."  Prof at my university
"Contrary to widespread belief, mathematicians do go to parties"  Ian Stewart
"Contrary to widespread belief, mathematicians do go to parties"  Ian Stewart
"...you will memorize it automagically"  You, sir, name?

 Posts: 103
 Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:44 am UTC
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
"Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler." Einstein (may not be exact wording)
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
orangeperson wrote:"The above proposition [2+2=4] is occasionally useful."
Principia Mathematica
Pretty sure its 1+1 = 2
"Math puns are the first sine of madness"
Cmebeh wrote:LOL you computer scientists; isn't it obvious? P = NP is undecidable à la continuum hypothesis
 modularblues
 Posts: 689
 Joined: Sun Nov 08, 2009 8:33 am UTC
 Location: Escher's Wonderland
 Contact:
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
"Think deeply of simple things."
 Ross Mathematics Program motto
 Ross Mathematics Program motto

 Posts: 77
 Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:17 pm UTC
 Location: Champaign, IL
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
If you know french...
"Allez en avant et la foi vous viendra"
Jean d'Alembert to students struggling with calculus
(Go forward and faith will come to you)
"Allez en avant et la foi vous viendra"
Jean d'Alembert to students struggling with calculus
(Go forward and faith will come to you)
Re: Famous Math Quotes!
Obi Wan Kenobi wrote:An elegant weapon, for a more civilized age
"Truth emerges more readily from error than from confusion" Francis Bacon
Who is online
Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests