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Millay, Edna St. Vincent (1892-1950)
Euclid alone has looked on Beauty bare.
Let all who prate of Beauty hold their peace,
And lay them prone upon the earth and cease
To ponder on themselves, the while they stare
At nothing, intricately drawn nowhere
In shapes of shifting lineage; let geese
Gabble and hiss, but heroes seek release
From dusty bondage into luminous air.
O blinding hour, O holy, terrible day,
When first the shaft into his vision shone
Of light anatomized! Euclid alone
Has looked on Beauty bare. Fortunate they
Who, though once only and then but far away,
Have heard her massive sandal set on stone.
Mencken, H. L. (1880 - 1956)
Bridges would not be safer if only people who knew the proper definition of a real number were allowed to design them.
Topological Theory of Defects in Review of Modern Physics
McShane, E. J.
There are in this world optimists who feel that any symbol that starts off with an integral sign must necessarily denote something that will have every property that they should like an integral to possess. This of course is quite annoying to us rigorous mathematicians; what is even more annoying is that by doing so they often come up with the right answer.
Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society, v. 69, p. 611, 1963.
McDuff, Dusa
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 he 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!
Mathematical Notices v. 38, no. 3, March 1991, pp. 185-7.
Mayer, Maria Goeppert (1906 -1972)
Mathematics began to seem too much like puzzle solving. Physics is puzzle solving, too, but of puzzles created by nature, not by the mind of man.
J. Dash, Maria Goeppert-Mayer, A Life of One's Own.
Matthias, Bernd T
If you see a formula in the Physical Review that extends over a quarter of a page, forget it. It's wrong. Nature isn't that complicated.
Maxwell, James Clerk (1813-1879)
... that, in a few years, all great physical constants will have been approximately estimated, and that the only occupation which will be left to men of science will be to carry these measurements to another place of decimals.
Scientific Papers 2, 244, October 1871.
Mathesis, Adrian
The greatest unsolved theorem in mathematics is why some people are better at it than others.
In H. Eves Return to Mathematical Circles, Boston: Prindle, Weber and Schmidt, 1988.
Mathesis, Adrian
If your new theorem can be stated with great simplicity, then there will exist a pathological exception.
In H. Eves Return to Mathematical Circles, Boston: Prindle, Weber and Schmidt, 1988.
Mathesis, Adrian
All great theorems were discovered after midnight.
In H. Eves Return to Mathematical Circles, Boston: Prindle, Weber and Schmidt, 1988.