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Your favourite quotes on math

  1. May 24, 2017 #1
    Im working as a math teacher on an upper secondary school sweden.
    As a last project for the students into programming I´m giving out a exercise where they should plot the roots of first, second and third order polynomials with integer coefficients (in a given interval). Hopefully resulting in some cool pictures of the complex plane.

    The best picture when will be printed on a A1 paper and hung on the wall in the classroom.

    However! I would also like to have a nice qoute along with the image. Which is the purpose of this thread. :)

    The qoute should peferably adress the questions 'what is math?' or 'what is a mathematician doing?'.
    Something along the lines of Erdös:
    "A mathematician is a machine which turns coffee into theorems" but more inspiring!

    I know that Grothendieck has written about this in his personal but published notes. But since I can't understand french I have a hard time finding qoutes thats suits.

    Do you guys have any suggestions? I´m very thankful for any help.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 24, 2017 #2


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    I read this in an article in Popular Mechanics (I believe). The article was something along the lines of: "25 things that Dad's should inspire their kid's to do"

    One of the 25 things was: "Learn a second language, preferably Mathematics."

    To me, It means that Mathematics is important to us in communicating ideas with each other - and also it is a common language between cultures.
  4. May 24, 2017 #3


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    Here is a webpage with many quotes:
    I find the first one by Grothendiek especially suited for the purpose:

    "Discovery is the privilege of the child: the child who has no fear of being once again wrong, of looking like an idiot, of not being serious, of not doing things like everyone else." (Alexander Grothendieck)
  5. May 24, 2017 #4
    Thats a very good suggestion for the classroom!
  6. May 24, 2017 #5


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    Although your English is nearly perfect you may like to know that it is "quote" rather than "qoute". That said, careful users of English would use "quotation" as the noun and "quote" as the verb. But that distinction is rarely observed these days.
  7. May 24, 2017 #6
    Thanks for the advice!
  8. May 24, 2017 #7


    Staff: Mentor

    Fixed in thread title.
  9. May 25, 2017 #8
  10. May 25, 2017 #9


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    I also find this quotation by John von Neumann suited

    "If people do not believe that mathematics is simple, it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is."
  11. May 25, 2017 #10

    jack action

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    «Go down deep enough into anything and you will find mathematics.» - Dean Schlicter

    «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

    «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

    «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

    from: http://www.quotegarden.com/math.html
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