Algebra: the Faustian bargain

I came across this great quote from Sir Micheal Atiyah. It is in Barry Mazur’s foreword to Tobias Dantzig’s book Number: the language of science (the 2005 reprinting of the 1930 classic). Algebra is the offer made by the devil to the mathematician. The devil says: I will give you this powerful machine, it will…

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…

100th post

In honor of my 100th post I would like to share a quote from Freeman Dyson which appears in this month’s Notices of the American Mathematical Society. Some mathematicians are birds, others are frogs. Birds fly high in the air and survey broad vistas of mathematics out to the far horizon. They delight in concepts that unify our thinking…

Math quotes on Freakonomics blog

There’s a mathematical topic today on the New York Times’ Freakonomics blog.  Their daily bleg (definition: using a blog to beg for information): What’s been said about math? Readers are invited to leave their favorite quotes about mathematics (or quotes by mathematicians) in the comments.