Mathematicians and the mathematically erudite alike love unanimity; and for some the quest to have truly resolvable arguments plays a role in their attraction to the subject.(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

I suspect that is the reason we frequently encounter statements like:

(1) "Gauss is widely recognized as the greatest mathematician of all time."

(2) "Euclid's proofs of the infinitude of primes and of the irrationality of [itex]\sqrt(2)[/itex] are beautiful yet accessible gems of pure mathematics".

But is seems that (1) originated with ET Bell's 1926 Men of Mathematics, and that (2) originated with Hardy's 1940 Mathematician's Apology.

It seems that the opinions expressed in these texts form a disproportionate amount of our current Mathematical culture. To make this topic truly disputable I would need to cite examples of (1) and (2) being parroted, but have encountered so many that I rely on the readers to relate to a common experience.

As a point of discussion, I disagree that the proofs in (2) are characteristic of mathematical beauty in general, as is often claim "if you don't find these proofs beautiful, consider switching subjects away from pure mathematics".

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# Math History: It is widely acknowledged

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