Friday, August 9, 2013
just a few quotes to end the week, drawn from miscellaneous things I've read lately….
“Poetry and prime numbers have this in common, both are as unpredictable, difficult to define, and multiple-meaning as a life.”
-- Daniel Tammet
"Mathematicians are explorers of many miniature mathematical worlds. Explorers often find the objects or phenomena that they discover novel and surprising and they do not always describe them accurately. Indeed, just because they are novel and surprising, early explorers may mis-describe them, misunderstand them, and give most misleading reports.
"It is only after much further study that the 'true nature' of the kangaroo, or the manatee, or carnivorous plants are determined. The same is true of mathematicians exploring their miniature worlds."
-- David Wells
“Our whole problem is to make the mistakes as fast as possible.”
-- physicist John A. Wheeler
"Fallibilism [a philosophical notion that any given human belief or understanding of the world could be wrong, and yet still be justified in holding given current knowledge], correctly understood, implies the possibility, not the impossibility, of knowledge, because the very concept of error, if taken seriously, implies that truth exists and can be found. The inherent limitation on human reason, that it can never find solid foundations for ideas, does not constitute any sort of limit on the creation of objective knowledge nor, therefore, on progress."
-- David Deutsch
"What made my reputation as a mathematician is the hidden links I've uncovered between different areas of mathematics. These links are so precious! They allow you to cast light on two different areas at once, in a game of ping-pong where every discovery made on one side flips back and gives rise to a corresponding discovery on the other side."
--C'edric Villani (Fields Medalist)
"Good mathematicians see analogies between theorems or theories, but the very best ones see analogies between analogies."
-- Stefan Banach