An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
QUOTES AND APHORISMS ON FORMULAS
The formula "two and two make five" is not without its attractions.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881, Russian novelist)
If I am given a
formula, and I am ignorant of its meaning, it cannot teach me
anything, but if I already know it what does the formula teach me? St. Augustine
(354-430) 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. Eric Temple Bell (1883-1960)
...She knew only that
if she did or said thus-and-so, men would unerringly respond with
the complimentary thus-and-so. It was like a mathematical formula
and no more difficult, for mathematics was the one subject that had
come easy to Scarlett in her schooldays. Margaret Mitchell
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. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
You treat world
history as a mathematician does mathematics, in which nothing but
laws and formulae exist, no reality, no good and evil, no time, no
yesterday, no tomorrow, nothing but an eternal, shallow,
mathematical present. Hermann Hesse(1877-1962)
...from the time of
Kepler to that of Newton, and from Newton to Hartley, not only all
things in external nature, but the subtlest mysteries of life and
organization, and even of the intellect and moral being, were
conjured within the magic circle of mathematical formulae. Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
These thoughts did
not come in any verbal formulation. I rarely think in words at all.
A thought comes, and I may try to express it in words afterward. Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
One merit of
mathematics few will deny: it says more in fewer words than any
other science. The formula, e^iπ = -1 expressed a world of
thought, of truth, of poetry, and of the religious spirit "God
eternally geometrizes." David Eugene Smith
Another advantage of
a mathematical statement is that it is so definite that it might be
definitely wrong; and if it is found to be wrong, there is a
plenteous choice of amendments ready in the mathematicians' stock of
formulae. Some verbal statements have not this merit; they are so
vague that they could hardly be wrong, and are correspondingly
useless. Lewis Fry Richardson (1881 - 1953)
One cannot escape the
feeling that these mathematical formulas have an independent
existence and an intelligence of their own, that they are wiser that
we are, wiser even than their discoverers, that we get more out of
them than was originally put into them. Heinrich Hertz
I was just going to
say, when I was interrupted, that one of the many ways of
classifying minds is under the heads of arithmetical and algebraical
intellects. All economical and practical wisdom is an extension of
the following arithmetical formula: 2 + 2 = 4. Every philosophical
proposition has the more general character of the expression a + b =
c. We are mere operatives, empirics, and egotists until we learn to
think in letters instead of figures. Oliver Wendell Holmes
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. Bernd T. Matthias 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! Dusa McDuff
This seems to be one
of the many cases in which the admitted accuracy of mathematical
processes is allowed to throw a wholly inadmissible appearance of
authority over the results obtained by them. Mathematics may be
compared to a mill of exquisite workmanship, which grinds your stuff
of any degree of fineness; but, nevertheless, what you get out
depends on what you put in; and as the grandest mill in the world
will not extract wheat flour from peascods, so pages of formulae
will not get a definite result out of loose data. Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895)
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