In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite. [full quote][add comments][Rate][Share]
...[he] was as much enchanted by the rudiments of algebra as he would have been if I had given him an engine worked by steam, with a methylated spirit lamp to heat the boiler; more enchanted, perhapsfor the engine would have got broken, and, remaining always itself, would in any case have lost its charm, while the rudiments of algebra continued to grow and blossom in his mind with an unfailing luxuriance. Every day he made the discovery of someth... [full quote][add comments][Rate][Share]
The mathematician starts with a few propositions, the proof of which is so obvious that they are called selfevident, and the rest of his work consists of subtle deductions from them. The teaching of languages, at any rate as ordinarily practised, is of the same general nature authority and tradition furnish the data, and the mental operations are deductive.
This seems to be one of the many cases in which the admitted accuracy of mathematical processes is allowed to throw a wholly inadmissible appearance of authority over the results obtained by them. Mathematics may be compared to a mill of exquisite workmanship, which grinds your stuff of any degree of fineness; but, nevertheless, what you get out depends on what you put in; and as the grandest mill in the world will not extract wheat flour from pe... [full quote][add comments][Rate][Share]
Mathematics is a form of poetry which transcends poetry in that it proclaims a truth; a form of reasoning which transcends reasoning in that it wants to bring about the truth it proclaims; a form of action, of ritual behavior, which does not find fulfillment in the act but must proclaim and elaborate a poetic form of truth. [full quote][add comments][Rate][Share]
...Mathematics... is a bit like discovering oil. ... But mathematics has one great advantage over oil, in that no one has yet ... found a way that you can keep using the same oil forever. [full quote][add comments][Rate][Share]
Sir Andrew John Wiles, KBE, FRS (born 11 April 1953) is a British mathematician and a Royal Society Research Professor at Oxford University, specializing in number theory. He is most famous for proving Fermat's Last Theorem.