“I dig old books.” ™ Est. 1998
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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 Louis von Neumann Go down deep enough into anything and you will find mathematics. ~Dean Schlicter It is not the job of mathematicians... to do correct arithmetical operations. It is the job of bank accountants. ~Samuil Shchatunovski Trigonometry is a sine of the times. ~Author Unknown Mathematics is not a careful march down a wellcleared highway, but a journey into a strange wilderness, where the explorers often get lost. Rigour should be a signal to the historian that the maps have been made, and the real explorers have gone elsewhere. ~W.S. Anglin A mathematician is a machine for turning coffee into theorems. ~Rényi Alfréd (1921–1970) [Bruce Schechter, My Brain is Open, 1998, claims this was said by was Rényi and not his compatriot & fellow mathematician Paul Erdős (1913–1996) although they were both avid coffee drinkers. Let us grant that the pursuit of mathematics is a divine madness of the human spirit, a refuge from the goading urgency of contingent happenings. ~Alfred North Whitehead The tantalizing and compelling pursuit of mathematical problems offers mental absorption, peace of mind amid endless challenges, repose in activity, battle without conflict, "refuge from the goading urgency of contingent happenings," and the sort of beauty changeless mountains present to sense tried by the presentday kaleidoscope of events. ~Morris Kline, Mathematics in Western Culture Mathematics is as much an aspect of culture as it is a collection of algorithms. ~Carl Boyer, 1949, calculus textbook Charlie Brown: How much is three times zero? Sally: Four thousand? Six? Eleventy twelve? Fiftyquillion? Overlyeight? Twiddelytwo? ~Charles M. Schulz, Peanuts, 1967 The cowboys have a way of trussing up a steer or a pugnacious bronco which fixes the brute so that it can neither move nor think. This is the hogtie, and it is what Euclid did to geometry. ~Eric Bell, The Search for Truth Sometimes it is useful to know how large your zero is. ~Author Unknown The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings. ~Eric Hoffer, Reflections On The Human Condition Mathematics is the only good metaphysics. ~William Thomson Baron Kelvin of Largs The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way. Persecution is used in theology, not in arithmetic. ~Bertrand Russell I prefer zeroes on the loose to those lined up behind a cipher. ~Wisława Szymborska (1923–2012), "Possibilities," 1997, translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanagh and Stanisław Barańczak Numbers are beautiful… I like twos the best… they're sort of gentle… threes and fives are mean, but a four is always pleasant… I like sevens and eights, too, but nines always scare me… tens are great… ~“Peppermint Patty” (Charles M. Schulz), Peanuts, 1968 [I'm the exact opposite. Odd numbers have always been calming to me, but the evens make me feel uncomfortable. Peppermint Patty appears to have ordinal personification associative synesthesia. Here are another couple of big words I learned recently: Imparnumerophobia is the fear of odd numbers, and omalonumerophobia is the fear of even numbers. Music is the pleasure the human mind experiences from counting without being aware that it is counting. ~Gottfried Leibniz How many times can you subtract 7 from 83, and what is left afterwards? You can subtract it as many times as you want, and it leaves 76 every time. ~Author Unknown To most outsiders, modern mathematics is unknown territory. Its borders are protected by dense thickets of technical terms; its landscapes are a mass of indecipherable equations and incomprehensible concepts. Few realize that the world of modern mathematics is rich with vivid images and provocative ideas. ~Ivars Peterson With my full philosophical rucksack I can only climb slowly up the mountain of mathematics. ~Ludwig Wittgenstein, Culture and Value But mathematics is the sister, as well as the servant, of the arts and is touched with the same madness and genius. ~Harold Marston Morse Still more astonishing is that world of rigorous fantasy we call mathematics. ~Gregory Bateson Everybody who knew anything about ciphering was called in to consider it. A young man from a high school near here, who made a specialty of mathematics and pimples, and who could readily tell how long a shadow a ninepound groundhog would cast at 2 o'clock and 37 minutes P.M., on groundhog day, if sunny, at the town of Fungus, Dak., provided latitude and longitude and an irregular mass of red chalk be given to him, was secured to jerk a few logarithms in the interests of trade. He came and tried it for a few days, covered the interior of the Exposition Building with figures and then went away. ~Bill Nye, "Seeking to be Identified," Nye and Riley's Railway Guide by Edgar W. Nye and James Whitcomb Riley, 1888 Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human. At best he is a tolerable subhuman who has learned to wear shoes, bathe, and not make messes in the house. ~Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love You may be an engineer if your idea of good interpersonal communication means getting the decimal point in the right place. ~Author Unknown The trouble with integers is that we have examined only the very small ones. Maybe all the exciting stuff happens at really big numbers, ones we can't even begin to think about in any very definite way. Our brains have evolved to get us out of the rain, find where the berries are, and keep us from getting killed. Our brains did not evolve to help us grasp really large numbers or to look at things in a hundred thousand dimensions. ~Ronald L. Graham Can you do Division? Divide a loaf by a knife  what's the answer to that? ~Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass Mathematics is the supreme judge; from its decisions there is no appeal. ~Tobias Dantzig Although he may not always recognize his bondage, modern man lives under a tyranny of numbers. ~Nicholas Eberstadt, The Tyranny of Numbers: Mismeasurement and Misrule The mathematics are usually considered as being the very antipodes of Poesy. Yet Mathesis and Poesy are of the closest kindred, for they are both works of the imagination. ~Thomas Hill The temperature of Heaven can be rather accurately computed. Our authority is Isaiah 30:26, "Moreover, the light of the Moon shall be as the light of the Sun and the light of the Sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days." Thus Heaven receives from the Moon as much radiation as we do from the Sun, and in addition 7*7 (49) times as much as the Earth does from the Sun, or 50 times in all. The light we receive from the Moon is one 1/10,000 of the light we receive from the Sun, so we can ignore that.... The radiation falling on Heaven will heat it to the point where the heat lost by radiation is just equal to the heat received by radiation, i.e., Heaven loses 50 times as much heat as the Earth by radiation. Using the StefanBoltzmann law for radiation, (H/E) temperature of the earth (300K), gives H as 798K (525C). The exact temperature of Hell cannot be computed.... [However] Revelations 21:8 says "But the fearful, and unbelieving...shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone." A lake of molten brimstone means that its temperature must be at or below the boiling point, 444.6C. We have, then, that Heaven, at 525C is hotter than Hell at 445C. ~From Applied Optics, vol. 11, A14, 1972 I used to love mathematics for its own sake, and I still do, because it allows for no hypocrisy and no vagueness.... ~Stendhal (Henri Beyle), The Life of Henri Brulard Is God just an algorithm? Is love? Are we? ~Terri Guillemets Plato said that God geometrizes continually. ~Plutarch An ancient sage, neither falsely nor irreverently, ventured to say that "God is a geometer." ~Edward Everett If there is a God, he's a great mathematician. ~Paul Dirac There is no prophet which preaches the superpersonal God more plainly than mathematics. ~Paul Carus, 1906 To all of us who hold the Christian belief that God is truth, anything that is true is a fact about God, and mathematics is a branch of theology. ~Hilda Phoebe Hudson Pure mathematics is the magician's real wand. ~Novalis [T]he different branches of Arithmetic — Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision. ~Lewis Carroll [G]eometry is not true, it is advantageous. ~Henri Poincaré Infinity is a floorless room without walls or ceiling. ~Author Unknown Physics is mathematical not because we know so much about the physical world, but because we know so little; it is only its mathematical properties that we can discover. ~Bertrand Russell God is real, unless declared integer. ~Author Unknown If a healthy minded person takes an interest in science, he gets busy with his mathematics and haunts the laboratory. ~W.S. Franklin Proof is an idol before whom the pure mathematician tortures himself. ~Arthur Stanley Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World There was a young man from Trinity, Who solved the square root of infinity. While counting the digits, He was seized by the fidgets, Dropped science, and took up divinity. ~Author Unknown One cannot escape the feeling that these mathematical formulas have an independent existence and an intelligence of their own, that they are wiser than we are, wiser even than their discoverers... ~Heinrich Hertz In the binary system we count on our fists instead of on our fingers. ~Author Unknown There are 10 types of people in this world: those who understand binary and those who don't. ~Author Unknown Round numbers are always false. ~Samuel Johnson God in number odd rejoices. ~Virgil [Or, "Uneven numbers are the gods' delight." I hope good luck lies in odd numbers.... They say there is divinity in odd numbers, either in nativity, chance, or death. ~William Shakespeare, Merry Wives of Windsor [V, 1, Falstaff] The laws of nature are but the mathematical thoughts of God. ~Euclid In most sciences one generation tears down what another has built and what one has established another undoes. In mathematics alone each generations adds a new story to the old structure. ~Hermann Hankel Twice two makes four seems to me simply a piece of insolence. Twice two makes four is a pert coxcomb who stands with arms akimbo barring your path and spitting. I admit that twice two makes four is an excellent thing, but if we are to give everything its due, twice two makes five is sometimes a very charming thing too. ~Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky I know that two and two make four  & should be glad to prove it too if I could  though I must say if by any sort of process I could convert 2 & 2 into five it would give me much greater pleasure. ~George Gordon, Lord Byron Mathematics may be defined as the economy of counting. There is no problem in the whole of mathematics which cannot be solved by direct counting. ~Ernst Mach Nature does not count nor do integers occur in nature. Man made them all, integers and all the rest, Kronecker to the contrary notwithstanding. ~Percy William Bridgman, The Way Things Are A man has one hundred dollars and you leave him with two dollars. That's subtraction. ~Mae West I've dealt with numbers all my life, of course, and after a while you begin to feel that each number has a personality of its own. A twelve is very different from a thirteen, for example. Twelve is upright, conscientious, intelligent, whereas thirteen is a loner, a shady character who won't think twice about breaking the law to get what he wants. Eleven is tough, an outdoorsman who likes tramping through woods and scaling mountains; ten is rather simpleminded, a bland figure who always does what he's told; nine is deep and mystical, a Buddha of contemplation.... ~Paul Auster, The Music of Chance One of the endlessly alluring aspects of mathematics is that its thorniest paradoxes have a way of blooming into beautiful theories. ~Philip J. Davis Pure mathematics is the world's best game. It is more absorbing than chess, more of a gamble than poker, and lasts longer than Monopoly. It's free. It can be played anywhere  Archimedes did it in a bathtub. ~Richard J. Trudeau, Dots and Lines 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, 1912 The man ignorant of mathematics will be increasingly limited in his grasp of the main forces of civilization. ~John Kemeny Although I am almost illiterate mathematically, I grasped very early in life that any one who can count to ten can count upward indefinitely if he is fool enough to do so. ~Robertson Davies, "Of the Conservation of Youth," The Table Talk of Samuel Marchbanks A million thanks to Norm & Andy for submitting some of these quotes!
