G. H. Hardy Quotes
Godfrey Harold "G. H." Hardy FRS (7 February 1877 – 1 December 1947) was an English mathematician, known for his achievements in number theory and mathematical analysis.
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It is not worth an intelligent man's time to be in the majority. By definition, there are already enough people to do that.
The theory of numbers, more than any other branch of mathematics, began by being an experimental science. Its most famous theorems have all been conjectured, sometimes a hundred years or more before they were proved; and they have been suggested by the evidence of a mass of computations.
A science is said to be useful if its development tends to accentuate the existing inequalities in the distribution of wealth, or more directly promotes the destruction of human life.
A mathematician, like a painter or poet, is a maker of patterns. If his patterns are more permanent than theirs, it is because they are made with ideas.
Archimedes will be remembered when Aeschylus is forgotten, because languages die and mathematical ideas do not. "Immortality" may be a silly word, but probably a mathematician has the best chance of whatever it may mean.
I propose to put forward an apology for mathematics; and I may be told that it needs none, since there are now few studies more generally recognized, for good reasons or bad, as profitable and praiseworthy.
The Babylonian and Assyrian civilizations have perished; Hammurabi, Sargon and Nebuchadnezzar are empty names; yet Babylonian mathematics is still interesting, and the Babylonian scale of 60 is still used in Astronomy.
I remember once going to see him [Ramanujan] when he was lying ill at Putney. I had ridden in taxi-cab No. 1729, and remarked that the number seemed to me rather a dull one, and that I hoped it was not an unfavourable omen. "No," he replied, "it is a very interesting number; it is the smallest number expressible as a sum of two cubes in two different ways."
Reductio ad absurdum, which Euclid loved so much, is one of a mathematician's finest weapons. It is a far finer gambit than any chess play: a chess player may offer the sacrifice of a pawn or even a piece, but a mathematician offers the game.
They [formulae 1.10 - 1.12 of Ramanujan] must be true because, if they were not true, no one would have had the imagination to invent them.
The mathematician's patterns, like the painter's or the poet's must be beautiful; the ideas, like the colours or the words must fit together in a harmonious way. Beauty is the first test: there is no permanent place in the world for ugly mathematics.
For my part, it is difficult for me to say what I owe to Ramanujan - his originality has been a constant source of suggestion to me ever since I knew him, and his death is one of the worst blows I have ever had.
[Regarding mathematics,] there are now few studies more generally recognized, for good reasons or bad, as profitable and praiseworthy. This may be true; indeed it is probable, since the sensational triumphs of Einstein, that stellar astronomy and atomic physics are the only sciences which stand higher in popular estimation.
In these days of conflict between ancient and modern studies, there must surely be something to be said for a study which did not begin with Pythagoras, and will not end with Einstein, but is the oldest and the youngest of all.