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Dirac, Paul Adrien Maurice (1902-1984)
In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite.
In H. Eves, Mathematical Circles Adieu, Boston: Prindle, Weber and Schmidt, 1977
Dirac, Paul Adrien Maurice (1902-1984)
Mathematics is the tool specially suited for dealing with abstract concepts of any kind and there is no limit to its power in this field.
In P. J. Davis and R. Hersh, The Mathematical Experience, Boston: Birkhauser, 1981
Dirac, Paul Adrien Maurice (1902-1984)
I think that there is a moral to this story, namely that it is more important to have beauty in one's equations than to have them fit experiment. If Schroedinger had been more confident of his work, he could have published it some months earlier, and he could have published a more accurate equation. It seems that if one is working from the point of view of getting beauty in one's equations, and if one has really a sound insight, one is on a sure line of progress. If there is not complete agreement between the results of one's work and experiment, one should not allow oneself to be too discouraged, because the discrepancy may well be due to minor features that are not properly taken into account and that will get cleared up with further development of the theory.
Scientific American, May 1963
Diophantus
[His epitaph.]
This tomb hold Diophantus Ah, what a marvel! And the tomb tells scientifically the measure of his life. God vouchsafed that he should be a boy for the sixth part of his life; when a twelfth was added, his cheeks acquired a beard; He kindled for him the light of marriage after a seventh, and in the fifth year after his marriage He granted him a son. Alas! late-begotten and miserable child, when he had reached the measure of half his father's life, the chill grave took him. After consoling his grief by this science of numbers for four years, he reached the end of his life.
In Ivor Thomas Greek Mathematics, in J. R. Newman (ed.) The World of Mathematics, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1956.
De Sua, F. (1956)
Suppose we loosely define a religion as any discipline whose foundations rest on an element of faith, irrespective of any element of reason which may be present. Quantum mechanics for example would be a religion under this definition. But mathematics would hold the unique position of being the only branch of theology possessing a rigorous demonstration of the fact that it should be so classified.
In H. Eves In Mathematical Circles, Boston: Prindle, Weber and Schmidt, 1969.
Descartes, Rene (1596-1650)
If you would be a real seeker after truth, you must at least once in your life doubt, as far as possible, all things.
Discours de la Methode. 1637.
Descartes, Rene (1596-1650)
Omnia apud me mathematica fiunt.
With me everything turns into mathematics.
Descartes, Rene (1596-1650)
It is not enough to have a good mind. The main thing is to use it well.
Discours de la Methode. 1637.
Descartes, Rene (1596-1650)
Perfect numbers like perfect men are very rare.
In H. Eves Mathematical Circles Squared, Boston: Prindle, Weber and Schmidt, 1972.
Descartes, Rene (1596-1650)
I hope that posterity will judge me kindly, not only as to the things which I have explained, but also to those which I have intentionally omitted so as to leave to others the pleasure of discovery.
La Geometrie.

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