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23 votes
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Did Ronald Fisher ever say anything on varying the threshold of significance level?

Jerry Dallal collected some of Fisher's quotes from various works. And Fisher said too much, first setting the P=0.05 cutoff in 1925, then not following it himself, and, finally, openly advocating ...
Conifold's user avatar
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18 votes
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Did Newton say: "If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been due more to patient attention, than to any other talent"?

So far I have been unable to find substantially identical words in Newton's writings, and as usual, authors that use this quotation do not cite a source. The origin may be a remark of Newton's in ...
njuffa's user avatar
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17 votes
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Did Grothendieck really say that he felt "clumsy, even oafish, wandering painfully up an arduous track"?

Yes, the quote is essentially authentic. This is from a typeset version "Récoltes et Semailles", specfically from "2.2 L’importance d’être seul." (To find the document online should be possible ...
quid's user avatar
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15 votes
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Which physicist is this quote attributed to?

Max Planck, Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1949), pp. 33-34:A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but ...
Geremia's user avatar
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14 votes
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What did Kurt Gödel mean by nonstandard analysis being "the analysis of the future"?

The quote is from the remark Gödel made after Robinson's talk at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton in March 1973. It is reproduced in the preface to the second edition of Robinson’s Non-...
Conifold's user avatar
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13 votes

Did Einstein say "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them"?

I am afraid there is no original source. Wikipedia has talk pages where sourcing is discussed, and its editors did extensive searches on this one and its variants. It is listed under the heading ...
Conifold's user avatar
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13 votes
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Some references for Vladimir Arnold's thesis "Mathematics is a part of physics"?

First, on the question in the narrow sense the answer is in the negative, I am afraid, although there are some other places where Arnold expresses his views on mathematics: An apologia for Applied ...
Conifold's user avatar
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12 votes
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Did Michel Rolle say that the calculus is "a collection of ingenious fallacies"?

"Did Rolle ever say/write any such thing (as that the calculus was 'a collection of ingenious fallacies')?" Michel Rolle (France, 1652-1719) certainly did attack the mathematical basis of the ...
terry-s's user avatar
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12 votes
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Who said that math or statistics is not free from class interest?

The quote is from Lenin, in his instructions to Popov when discussing the project of organizing Soviet statistics in summer of 1918:"Statistics, as any other scientific discipline, poses problems ...
Conifold's user avatar
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11 votes

Is the "ques­tions that can’t be an­swered over an­swers that can’t be ques­tioned" quote by Feynman authentic?

This is all I have found for now: “You see, one thing is, I can live with doubt, and uncertainty, and not knowing. I think it’s much more interesting to live, not knowing, than to have answers which ...
11 votes

Source for Hilbert's famous quote "Mathematics in Göttingen? There really is none anymore"

In my grandfather's book, lately translated from German: Recollections of a Jewish Mathematician in Germany, by Abraham A. Fraenkel, edited by Jiska Cohen-Mansfield, translated by Allison Brown. ...
Avraham Fraenkel's user avatar
11 votes

Source for this story about Einstein learning algebra from his uncle

The story is genuine. Isaacson retells it in his scientific biography Einstein: His Life and Universe based on recollections of his younger sister Maja, along with other evidence that dispels the ...
Conifold's user avatar
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11 votes
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Quotation about $\pi$ and the number of deaths

Almost. E P Wigner (1960), Communications on Pure and Applied Mathematics 13 1–14 The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences THERE IS A story about two friends, who were ...
Cosmas Zachos's user avatar
11 votes
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Source of a Poincaré quote: "Logic sometimes makes monsters..."

McTutor most likely took the passage from Kline's Mathematical Thought From Ancient to Modern Times, v.3, p.973, they reproduced his translation verbatim. Kline references Poincare's essay Dans la ...
Conifold's user avatar
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10 votes
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Who did say that anyone who discover a new particle should be fined instead of receiving a prize?

According to a slide deck I found, it was Willis Lamb. Quote from said deck: In 1955, Willis Lamb started his Nobel Prize acceptance speech by saying that “maybe physicists discovering a new ...
Carl Witthoft's user avatar
10 votes

Gauss on philosophers

The quote is not accurate but Gauss actually wrote something similar to Schumacher in the letter of 1 November 1844 cited here, where he complains about concepts and definitions given in math books by ...
user6530's user avatar
  • 3,990
10 votes
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What was Richard Courant's saying about mathematical research apart from applications?

There is river imagery in a passage from the preface (written by Courant) to Courant-Hilbert's Methods of Mathematical Physics, vol. 1, but the point of the metaphor is somewhat different. It is ...
Conifold's user avatar
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10 votes
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What is the mysterious expression mentioned by Hadamard that Riemann derived properties of zeta function from?

The mysterious expression, that Riemann did not "simplify enough to publish", is mentioned in his letter to Weierstrass published by Weber in 1876. It is reminiscent of Fermat's "...
Conifold's user avatar
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10 votes
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Poincaré's definition of mathematics (?)

The phrase appears in chapter 2 of Science and Method, L'avenir des Mathématiques, English translation, The Future of Mathematics. Poincare refers to the centrality of form over substance in ...
Conifold's user avatar
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10 votes
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Is there evidence that Gödel said "phoned with God"?

I have not been able to locate the passage in Rautenberg's book in which the episode is reported (EDIT: is in Chapter 6.4 "The Representability Theorem" on page 243), however a similar ...
user6530's user avatar
  • 3,990
9 votes
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Paul Erdos' quote "Mathematics is not yet ready for such problems"

An annotated bibliography by Lagarias on the 3x+1 problem shows a couple mentions of papers by Erdős that touch on related topics, but seems to trace the quote as follows: Richard K. Guy (1983a) Don’...
CR Drost's user avatar
  • 406
9 votes

What is the source of Hermann Weyl's remark about "near-sighted policemen" with respect to compact spaces?

The closest match I could find is in H. Weyl, "Harmonics on homogeneous manifolds." Annals of Mathematics, Second Series, Vol. 35, No. 3, July 1934, pp. 486-499, as reproduced in K. ...
njuffa's user avatar
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9 votes
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Did Kronecker's "ganzen Zahlen" refer to whole numbers as natural numbers or integers?

TL; DR: the "ganzen Zahlen" refers to positive integers. Gauss, Dedekind and Cantor were reifying new mathematical objects obtained by explicit or implicit procedures, and then forgetting ...
Conifold's user avatar
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8 votes

Checking a Gödel quote on Principia Mathematica

In responding to your question, I hope that I can convince you of the following two claims: Gödel held that the formal system of the actual Principia was that of ramified type thoery (simple type ...
Landon D. C. Elkind's user avatar
8 votes

What did Kurt Gödel mean by nonstandard analysis being "the analysis of the future"?

In the 1970s Gödel recommended Robinson for membership in the British Academy of Sciences. His recommendation was based in part on Robinson's framework for analysis with infinitesimals. From the ...
Mikhail Katz's user avatar
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8 votes
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Source for Felix Klein quote about curves

Elementarmathematik vom höheren Standpunkte aus, Bd.2 Was eine Kurve ist, glaubt jeder Mensch zu wissen, bis er so viel Mathematik gelernt hat, daß ihn die unzähligen möglichen Abnormitäten ...
sand1's user avatar
  • 2,422
8 votes
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Natura non facit saltus (nature does not make jumps), who said that?

The Latin quip was derived from Aristotle's History of Animals, where it is rather specific to the context of the "scale of life". Hence Linnaeus's and Darwin's references are more on point than more ...
Conifold's user avatar
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8 votes
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Number theory: a quote

"It has been estimated that, at the present stage of our knowledge, one could give a 200 semester course on commutative algebra and algebraic geometry without ever repeating himself." These ...
Chris Leary's user avatar
8 votes
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Provenance of mathematics quote from Robert Musil, 1913

This quote is from Der mathematische Mensch (The mathematical man), which is a short essay by Robert Musil, published in 1913. In this essay Musil makes some considerations about the role and the ...
BakerStreet's user avatar
  • 1,065
7 votes
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Is the "ques­tions that can’t be an­swered over an­swers that can’t be ques­tioned" quote by Feynman authentic?

I have my doubts, although Feynman, like many others, expressed similar sentiments. Dennett in the first chapter of Breaking the Spell (2006) writes:"Philosophy is questions that may never be answered....
Conifold's user avatar
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