Interesting Quotations by Mathematicians/Chemists/Physicists/Scientists/Engineers:

 Leonardo da Vinci (Italian Artist & Scientist, Born: Vinci, near Florence, April 15, 1452; Died: Castle Cloux, near Amboise, France, May 2, 1519)


I prefer death to lassitude. I never tire of serving others.

No human investigation can be called real science if it cannot be demonstrated mathematically.

He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast.

Inequality is the cause of all local movements.

Augustus De Morgan (English Mathematician, Born: Madura, Madras, India, June 27, 1806; Died: London, March 18, 1871)

[When asked about his age.] I was x years old in the year x2 (In H. Eves, In Mathematical Circles, Boston: Prindle, Weber and Schmidt, 1969). (A question for Prof. Inanís students: What x2 year was De Morgan x years old?)

Leonhard Euler (Swiss Mathematician, Born: Basel, April 15, 1707; Died: St. Petersburg, Russia, September 18, 1783)

Mathematicians have tried in vain to this day to discover some order in the sequence of prime numbers, and we have reason to believe that it is a mystery into which the human mind will never penetrate (In G. Simmons, Calculus Gems, New York: McGraw Hill Inc., 1992).

[Upon losing the use of his right eye.] Now I will have less distraction (In H. Eves, In Mathematical Circles, Boston: Prindle, Weber and Schmidt, 1969).

Michael Faraday (English Physicist & Chemist, Born: Newington, Surrey, September 22, 1791; Died: Hampton Court, Middlesex (now part of Greater London), August 25, 1867)

I do not feel that I possess anything extraordinary. If I do have the pleasure of a special talent, it must certainly be perseverance.

The world little knows how many of the thoughts and theories which have passed through the mind of the scientific investigator have been crushed in silence and secrecy by his own severe criticism and adverse examination; that in the most successful instances not a tenth of the suggestions, the hopes, the wishes, the preliminary conclusions have been realized.

Richard Phillips Feynman (American Physicist, Born: New York, USA, May 11, 1918; Died: Los Angeles, California, USA, February 15, 1988)

To those who do not know mathematics it is difficult to get across a real feeling as to the beauty, the deepest beauty, of nature. If you want to learn about nature, to appreciate nature, it is necessary to understand the language that she speaks in (The Character of Physical Law, Cambridge, 1967).

From a long view of history of mankind-seen from say, 10,000 years from now-there can be little doubt that the most significant event of the 19th Century will be judged as Maxwell's discovery of the laws of electrodynamics. The American Civil War will pale into provincial insignificance in comparison with this important scientific event of the same decade (Feynman Lectures on Physics, vol. II).

Leonardo Fibonacci (Italian Mathematician, Born: Pisa, Around 1170; Died: Around, 1240)

[How many pairs of rabbits can be bred from one pair in a year?] A man has one pair of rabbits at a certain place entirely surrounded by a wall. We wish to know how many pairs will be bred from it in one year, if the nature of these rabbits is such that they breed every month one other pair and begin to breed in the second month after their birth (Liber Abaci, 1202).

Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier (French Mathematician, Born: Auxerre, Yonne, March 21, 1768; Died: Paris, May 16, 1830)

The profound study of nature is the most fertile source of mathematical discoveries (Quoted in M Kline, Mathematical thought from ancient to modern times, New York, 1972).

Galileo Galilei (Italian Astronomer & Physicist, Born: Pisa, February 15, 1564; Died: Arcetri (near Florence), January 8, 1642)

Infinities and indivisibles transcend our finite understanding, the former on account of their magnitude, the latter because of their smallness; Imagine what they are when combined (Two New Sciences, 1638).

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual (Quoted in Arago, Eulogy of Galileo (1874)).

Johann Karl Friedrich Gauss (German Mathematician, Born: Brunswick, April 30, 1777; Died: Gottingen, Hannover, February 23, 1855)

The total number of Dirichlet's publications is not large: jewels are not weighed on a grocery scale.

Oliver Heaviside (English Physicist & Electrical Engineer, Born: London, May 18, 1850; Died: Paignton, Devonshire, February 3, 1925)

[When criticised for his daring use of operators before they could be justified formally.] Why should I refuse a good dinner simply because I don't understand the digestive processes involved.

Pierre Simon Laplace (French Astronomer & Mathematician, Born: Beaumont-en-Auge, Calvados, March 28, 1749; Died: Paris, March 5, 1827)

[Allegedly his last words.] What we know is not much. What we do not know is immense. (Quoted in A De Morgan Budget of Paradoxes.)

Read Euler: he is our master in everything (Quoted in G Simmons Calculus Gems, New York 1992).

Simeon Denis Poisson (French Mathematician, Born: Pithiviers, Loiret, June 21, 1781; Died: Paris, April 25, 1840)

Life is good for only two things, discovering mathematics and teaching mathematics (Mathematics Magazine,Vol. 64, No. 1, Feb. 1991).

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