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I do not remember ever having seen a sustained argument by an author which,
starting from philosophical premises likely to meet with general acceptance,
reached the conclusion that a praiseworthy ordering of one's life is to
devote it to research in mathematics.
-- Sir Edmund Whittaker, "Scientific American", Vol. 183
|Linux Science: 192 of 622|
"I don't think so," said Ren'e Descartes. Just then, he vanished.
|Linux Science: 193 of 622|
I had a feeling once about mathematics -- that I saw it all. Depth beyond
depth was revealed to me -- the Byss and the Abyss. I saw -- as one might
see the transit of Venus or even the Lord Mayor's Show -- a quantity passing
through infinity and changing its sign from plus to minus. I saw exactly
why it happened and why tergiversation was inevitable -- but it was after
dinner and I let it go.
-- Winston Churchill
|Linux Science: 194 of 622|
I have a theory that it's impossible to prove anything, but I can't prove it.
|Linux Science: 195 of 622|
"I have examined Bogota," he said, "and the case is clearer to me.
I think very probably he might be cured."
"That is what I have always hoped," said old Yacob.
"His brain is affected," said the blind doctor.
The elders murmured assent.
"Now, what affects it?"
"Ah!" said old Yacob.
"This," said the doctor, answering his own question. "Those queer
things that are called the eyes, and which exist to make an agreeable soft
depression in the face, are diseased, in the case of Bogota, in such a way
as to affect his brain. They are greatly distended, he has eyelashes, and
his eyelids move, and cosequently his brain is in a state of constant
irritation and distraction."
"Yes?" said old Yacob. "Yes?"
"And I think I may say with reasonable certainty that, in order
to cure him completely, all that we need do is a simple and easy surgical
operation -- namely, to remove those irritant bodies."
"And then he will be sane?"
"Then he will be perfectly sane, and a quite admirable citizen."
"Thank heaven for science!" said old Yacob.
-- H.G. Wells, "The Country of the Blind"
|Linux Science: 196 of 622|
I have hardly ever known a mathematician who was capable of reasoning.
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I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when
you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated.
-- Poul Anderson
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I myself have dreamed up a structure intermediate between Dyson spheres
and planets. Build a ring 93 million miles in radius -- one Earth orbit
-- around the sun. If we have the mass of Jupiter to work with, and if
we make it a thousand miles wide, we get a thickness of about a thousand
feet for the base.
And it has advantages. The Ringworld will be much sturdier than a Dyson
sphere. We can spin it on its axis for gravity. A rotation speed of 770
m/s will give us a gravity of one Earth normal. We wouldn't even need to
roof it over. Place walls one thousand miles high at each edge, facing the
sun. Very little air will leak over the edges.
Lord knows the thing is roomy enough. With three million times the surface
area of the Earth, it will be some time before anyone complains of the
-- Larry Niven, "Ringworld"
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I put up my thumb... and it blotted out the planet Earth.
-- Neil Armstrong
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I tell them to turn to the study of mathematics, for it is only there that
they might escape the lusts of the flesh.
-- Thomas Mann, "The Magic Mountain"