Sunday, March 13, 2016

Pure vs. Applied

For Sunday reflection, Paul R. Halmos, from his 1968 essay "Mathematics as a Creative Art":
"…a brief and perhaps apocryphal story about David Hilbert… When he was preparing a public address, Hilbert was asked to include a reference to the conflict between pure and applied mathematics, in the hope that if anyone could take a step toward resolving it, he could. Obediently, he is said to have begun his address by saying 'I was asked to speak about the conflict between pure and applied mathematics. I am glad to do so, because it is, indeed, a lot of nonsense -- there should be no conflict -- there is no conflict -- in fact the two have nothing whatsoever to do with one another!' "

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