Chester Martin (512) 923-1137

Thoughts on Mathematics and History.

The advancement and perfection of mathematics are intimately connected with the prosperity of the State.
                                                               Napoleon Bonaparte

In most sciences one generation tears down what another has built and what one has established another undoes. In mathematics alone each generation adds a new story to the old structure.
                                                               Hermann Hankle

An educated mind is, as it were, composed of all the minds of preceding ages.
                                                               Bernard de Fontenelle

Each problem that I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems.
                                                               Rene Descartes

There is no more common error than to assume that, because prolonged and accurate mathematical calculations have been made, the application of the result to some fact of nature is absolutely certain.
                                                               Alfred North Whitehead

There is an astonishing imagination even in the science of mathematics ... We repeat, there is far more imagination in the head of Archimedes than in that of Homer.
                                                               Voltaire

In Samoa, when elementary schools were first established, the natives developed an absolute craze for arithmetical calculations. They laid aside their weapons and were to be seen going about armed with slate and pencil, setting sums and problems to one another and to European visitors. The Honourable Frederick Walpole declares that his visit to the beautiful island was positively embittered by ceaseless multiplication and division.
                                                               T. Briffault

The idea of the continuum seems simple to us. We have somehow lost sight of the difficulties it implies ... We are told such a number as the square root of 2 worried Pythagoras and his school almost to exhaustion. Being used to such queer numbers from early childhood, we must be careful not to form a low idea of the mathematical intuition of these ancient sages; their worry was highly credible.  
                                                               Erwin Schrödinger

Perhaps the most surprising thing about mathematics is that it is so surprising. The rules which we make up at the beginning seem ordinary and inevitable, but it is impossible to forsee their consequences. These have only been found out by long study, extending over many centuries. Much of our knowledge is due to a comparatively few great mathematicians such as Newton, Euler, Gauss, or Tiemann; few careers can have been more satisfying than theirs. They have contributed something to human thought even more lasting than great literature, since it is independent of language.  
                                                               Edward Charles Titchmarsh

Today, it is not only that our kings do not know mathematics, but our
philosophers do not know mathematics.
                                                               Julius Robert Oppenheimer

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