George Polya Quotes

George Pólya (/?po?l.j?/; Hungarian: Pólya György, pronounced [?po?j? ??ør?]; December 13, 1887 – September 7, 1985) was a Hungarian mathematician. He was a professor of mathematics from 1914 to 1940 at ETH Zürich and from 1940 to 1953 at Stanford University. He made fundamental contributions to combinatorics, number theory, numerical analysis and probability theory. He is also noted for his work in heuristics and mathematics education.

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George Polya


If you wish to learn swimming you have to go into the water and if you wish to become a problem solver you have to solve problems.

George Polya


Mathematics is the cheapest science. Unlike physics or chemistry, it does not require any expensive equipment. All one needs for mathematics is a pencil and paper.

George Polya


In order to solve this differential equation you look at it until a solution occurs to you.

George Polya


Epitaph on Newton: Nature and Nature's law lay hid in night: God said, "Let Newton be!," and all was light. [added by Sir John Collings Squire: It did not last: the Devil shouting "Ho. Let Einstein be," restored the status quo] [Aaron Hill's version: O'er Nature's laws God cast the veil of night, Out blaz'd a Newton's soul and all was light.

George Polya


Even fairly good students, when they have obtained the solution of the problem and written down neatly the argument, shut their books and look for something else. Doing so, they miss an important and instructive phase of the work. ... A good teacher should understand and impress on his students the view that no problem whatever is completely exhausted.

George Polya


To write and speak correctly is certainly necessary; but it is not sufficient. A derivation correctly presented in the book or on the blackboard may be inaccessible and uninstructive, if the purpose of the successive steps is incomprehensible, if the reader or listener cannot understand how it was humanly possible to find such an argument....

George Polya


Euclid 's manner of exposition, progressing relentlessly from the data to the unknown and from the hypothesis to the conclusion, is perfect for checking the argument in detail but far from being perfect for making understandable the main line of the argument.

George Polya


You should not put too much trust in any unproved conjecture, even if it has been propounded by a great authority, even if it has been propounded by yourself. You should try to prove it or disprove it ...

George Polya


Quite often, when an idea that could be helpful presents itself, we do not appreciate it, for it is so inconspicuous. The expert has, perhaps, no more ideas than the inexperienced, but appreciates more what he has and uses it better.

George Polya


One of the first and foremost duties of the teacher is not to give his students the impression that mathematical problems have little connection with each other, and no connection at all with anything else. We have a natural opportunity to investigate the connections of a problem when looking back at its solution.

George Polya


A mathematics teacher is a midwife to ideas.

George Polya


When introduced at the wrong time or place, good logic may be the worst enemy of good teaching.

George Polya


The best of ideas is hurt by uncritical acceptance and thrives on critical examination.

George Polya


A GREAT discovery solves a great problem but there is a grain of discovery in any problem.

George Polya


Look around when you have got your first mushroom or made your first discovery: they grow in clusters.

George Polya