Quotes about formulas (16 Quotes)


    Gel'fand amazed me by talking of mathematics as though it were poetry. He once said about a long paper bristling with formulas that it contained the vague beginnings of an idea which could only hint at and which he had never managed to bring out more clearly. I had always thought of mathematics as being much more straightforward a formula is a formula, and an algebra is an algebra, but Gel'fand found hedgehogs lurking in the rows of his spectral sequences.






    It is strange that we know so little about the properties of numbers. They are our handiwork, yet they baffle us we can fathom only a few of their intricacies. Having defined their attributes and prescribed their behavior, we are hard pressed to perceive the implications of our formulas.

    Mathematics has the completely false reputation of yielding infallible conclusions. Its infallibility is nothing but identity. Two times two is not four, but it is just two times two, and that is what we call four for short. But four is nothing new at all. And thus it goes on and on in its conclusions, except that in the higher formulas the identity fades out of sight.



    The pursuit of pretty formulas and neat theorems can no doubt quickly degenerate into a silly vice, but so can the quest for austere generalities which are so very general indeed that they are incapable of application to any particular.

    Some writers would be kinder than others, I'm sure. Hopefully they might describe my techniques as a mixture of tried and tested formulas - if it aint broke don't fix it - and unexpected twists.





    Abandon the urge to simplify everything, to look for formulas and easy answers, and to begin to think multidimensionally, to glory in the mystery and paradoxes of life, not to be dismayed by the multitude of causes and consequences that are inherent in each experience to appreciate the fact that life is complex.



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