Posted by: Dave Richeson | March 1, 2010

Polya on Euler

One of my computer science colleagues sent me this quote from Polya about Euler. This is usually something I’d to post on Twitter, but it is too long. So I thought I’d reproduce it here.

…among old mathematicians, I was most influenced by Euler and mostly because Euler did something that no other great mathematician of his stature did. He explained how he found his results and I was deeply interested in that. It has to do with my interest in problem solving.

[Source: George Polya Interviewed on His Ninetieth Birthday, by G. L. Alexanderson, The Two-Year College Mathematics Journal, Vol. 10, No. 1 (Jan., 1979), pp. 13-19]

Contrast this with Gauss, for example, who wrote very little, as illustrated by this famous quote:

You know that I write slowly. This is chiefly because I am never satisfied until I have said as much as possible in a few words, and writing briefly takes far more time than writing at length.

Yet another reason to love Euler.

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