„But in my opinion, all things in nature occur mathematically.“

Last update June 3, 2021. History
René Descartes photo
René Descartes45
French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist 1596 - 1650

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René Descartes photo

„With me, everything turns into mathematics.
More closely translated as: but in my opinion, all things in nature occur mathematically.“

—  René Descartes French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist 1596 - 1650

""Mais"" is French for ""but"" and the ""but in my opinion"" comes from the context of the original conversation. apud me omnia fiunt Mathematicè in Natura is in latin.
Sometimes the Latin version is incorrectly quoted as Omnia apud me mathematica fiunt.
Sources: Correspondence with Mersenne http://fr.wikisource.org/wiki/Page%3aDescartes_-_%C5%92uvres,_%C3%A9d._Adam_et_Tannery,_III.djvu/48 note for line 7 (1640), page 36, Die Wiener Zeit http://books.google.com/books?id=9Xh3fVZLCycC&pg=PA532&lpg=PA532&dq=%22Omnia+apud+me+mathematica+fiunt%22+original+zitat&source=bl&ots=CgQOrveRiM&sig=WFHwIK20r5vRZ66FwCaxo857LCU&hl=de&sa=X&ei=_Wf2UcHlJYbfsgaf1IHABg#v=onepage&q=%22Omnia%20apud%20me%20mathematica%20fiunt%22%20original%20zitat&f=false page 532 (2008); StackExchange Math Q/A Where did Descartes write... http://math.stackexchange.com/questions/454599/where-did-descartes-write-with-me-everything-turns-into-mathematics?noredirect=1#comment978229_454599
Original: (la) Mais apud me omnia fiunt Mathematicè in Natura

Leonardo Da Vinci photo
David Hilbert photo

„Mathematical science is in my opinion an indivisible whole, an organism whose vitality is conditioned upon the connection of its parts.“

—  David Hilbert, Mathematical Problems

Mathematical Problems (1900)
Context: Mathematical science is in my opinion an indivisible whole, an organism whose vitality is conditioned upon the connection of its parts. For with all the variety of mathematical knowledge, we are still clearly conscious of the similarity of the logical devices, the relationship of the ideas in mathematics as a whole and the numerous analogies in its different departments. We also notice that, the farther a mathematical theory is developed, the more harmoniously and uniformly does its construction proceed, and unsuspected relations are disclosed between hitherto separate branches of the science. So it happens that, with the extension of mathematics, its organic character is not lost but only manifests itself the more clearly.

M. C. Escher photo
Georg Cantor photo

„I realize that in this undertaking I place myself in a certain opposition to views widely held concerning the mathematical infinite and to opinions frequently defended on the nature of numbers.“

—  Georg Cantor mathematician, inventor of set theory 1845 - 1918

Grundlagen einer allgemeinen Mannigfaltigkeitslehre [Foundations of a General Theory of Aggregates] (1883)

Michel De Montaigne photo

„The most fruitful and natural exercise for our minds is, in my opinion, conversation.“

—  Michel De Montaigne (1533-1592) French-Occitan author, humanistic philosopher, statesman 1533 - 1592

Source: The Essays: A Selection

Benoît Mandelbrot photo

„Contrary to popular opinion, mathematics is about simplifying life, not complicating it.“

—  Benoît Mandelbrot Polish-born, French and American mathematician 1924 - 2010

Source: The (Mis)Behavior of Markets (2004, 2008), Ch. 7, p. 125
Context: Contrary to popular opinion, mathematics is about simplifying life, not complicating it. A child learns a bag of candies can be shared fairly by counting them out: That is numeracy. She abstracts that notion to dividing a candy bar into equal pieces: arithmetic. Then, she learns how to calculate how much cocoa and sugar she will need to make enough chocolate for fifteen friends: algebra.

David Hilbert photo
Nicholas Sparks photo
Euclid photo

„The laws of nature are but the mathematical thoughts of God.“

—  Euclid Greek mathematician, inventor of axiomatic geometry -323 - -285 BC

The earliest published source found on google books that attributes this to Euclid is A Mathematical Journey by Stanley Gudder (1994), p. xv http://books.google.com/books?id=UiOxd2-lfGsC&q=%22mathematical+thoughts%22+euclid#search_anchor. However, many earlier works attribute it to Johannes Kepler, the earliest located being in the piece "The Mathematics of Elementary Chemistry" by Principal J. McIntosh of Fowler Union High School in California, which appeared in School Science and Mathematics, Volume VII ( 1907 http://books.google.com/books?id=kAEUAAAAIAAJ&pg=PR3#v=onepage&q&f=false), p. 383 http://books.google.com/books?id=kAEUAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA383#v=onepage&q&f=false. Neither this nor any other source located gives a source in Kepler's writings, however, and in an earlier source, the 1888 Notes and Queries, Vol V., it is attributed on p. 165 http://books.google.com/books?id=0qYXAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA165#v=onepage&q&f=false to Plato. It could possibly be a paraphrase of either or both of the following to comments in Kepler's 1618 book Harmonices Mundi (The Harmony of the World)': "Geometry is one and eternal shining in the mind of God" and "Since geometry is co-eternal with the divine mind before the birth of things, God himself served as his own model in creating the world".
Misattributed

Johannes Kepler photo

„The laws of nature are but the mathematical thoughts of God.“

—  Johannes Kepler German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer 1571 - 1630

Attributed to Kepler in some sources (though more recent sources often attribute it to Euclid), such as Mathematically Speaking: A Dictionary of Quotations edited by Carl C. Gaither and Alma E. Cavazos-Gaither (1998), p. 214 http://books.google.com/books?id=4abygoxLdwQC&lpg=PP1&pg=PA214#v=onepage&q&f=false. The earliest publication located that attributes the quote to Kepler is the piece "The Mathematics of Elementary Chemistry" by Principal J. McIntosh of Fowler Union High School in California, which appeared in School Science and Mathematics, Volume VII ( 1907 http://books.google.com/books?id=kAEUAAAAIAAJ&pg=PR3#v=onepage&q&f=false), p. 383 http://books.google.com/books?id=kAEUAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA383#v=onepage&q&f=false. Neither this nor any other source located gives a source in Kepler's writings, however, and in an earlier source, the 1888 Notes and Queries, Vol V., it is attributed on p. 165 http://books.google.com/books?id=0qYXAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA165#v=onepage&q&f=false to Plato. Expressions that relate geometry to the divine "mind of God" include comments in the Harmonices Mundi, e.g., "Geometry is one and eternal shining in the mind of God", and "Since geometry is co-eternal with the divine mind before the birth of things, God himself served as his own model in creating the world".
Disputed quotes

Immanuel Kant photo
Pierre Deligne photo

„The nice thing about mathematics is doing mathematics.“

—  Pierre Deligne mathematician 1944

Pierre Deligne in: Philip Ball. "Mathematician wins award for shaping algebra: 2013 Abel Prize goes to Belgian Pierre Deligne, who proved a deep conjecture about algebra and geometry." in Nature, 20 March 2013

„I knew my purpose well and clear: to show how Nature behaves without cluttering its beauty with abtruse mathematics.“

—  Julius Sumner Miller American physicist 1909 - 1987

The Days of My Life : An Autobiography (1989), p. 212
Context: My first TV series on demonstrations in physics — titled Why Is It So? were now seen and heard over the land. The mail was massive. The academics were a special triumph for me. They charged me with being superficial and trivial. If I had done what they wanted my programs would be as dull as their classes! I knew my purpose well and clear: to show how Nature behaves without cluttering its beauty with abtruse mathematics. Why cloud the charm of a Chladni plate with a Bessel function?

„The 'language theory' is inadequate as a description of the nature of mathematics.“

—  George Frederick James Temple British mathematician 1901 - 1992

100 Years of Mathematics: a Personal Viewpoint (1981)

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg photo

„All mathematical laws which we find in Nature are always suspect to me, in spite of their beauty.“

—  Georg Christoph Lichtenberg German scientist, satirist 1742 - 1799

As quoted in Lichtenberg : A Doctrine of Scattered Occasions (1959) by Joseph Peter Stern, p. 84
Context: All mathematical laws which we find in Nature are always suspect to me, in spite of their beauty. They give me no pleasure. They are merely auxiliaries. At close range it is all not true.

Lewis Carroll photo

„when she thought it over afterwards it occurred to her that she ought to have wondered at this, but at the time it all seemed quite natural“

—  Lewis Carroll English writer, logician, Anglican deacon and photographer 1832 - 1898

Source: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

Matthew Arnold photo

„It is not in my nature, some of my critics would rather say, not in my power, to dispute on behalf of any opinion, even my own, very obstinately.“

—  Matthew Arnold English poet and cultural critic who worked as an inspector of schools 1822 - 1888

Preface to the Second Edition (1869)
Essays in Criticism (1865)
Context: It is not in my nature, some of my critics would rather say, not in my power, to dispute on behalf of any opinion, even my own, very obstinately. To try and approach truth on one side after another, not to strive or cry, nor to persist in pressing forward, on any one side, with violence and self-will, — it is only thus, it seems to me, that mortals may hope to gain any vision of the mysterious Goddess, whom we shall never see except in outline, but only thus even in outline. He who will do nothing but fight impetuously towards her on his own, one, favourite, particular line, is inevitably destined to run his head into the folds of the black robe in which she is wrapped.

Julian (emperor) photo

„It is my opinion that the present subject interests all“

—  Julian (emperor) Roman Emperor, philosopher and writer 331 - 363

Upon the Sovereign Sun (362)
Context: It is my opinion that the present subject interests all: "Whatever breathes, and moves upon the earth," all that are endowed with existence, with a rational soul, and with a mind: but that above all others it interests myself, inasmuch as I am a votary of the Sun.

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