Quotations by Paul Erdős


Mathematics is not yet ready for such problems.
[Attributed by Paul Halmos.]
The American Mathematical Monthly, Nov. 1992

Why are numbers beautiful? It's like asking why is Beethoven's Ninth Symphony beautiful. If you don't see why, someone can't tell you. I know numbers are beautiful. If they aren't beautiful, nothing is.

God may not play dice with the universe, but something strange is going on with the prime numbers.

Television is something the Russians invented to destroy American education.

Why are you a physicist? Why aren't you a mathematician?

I cannot compute Cm for m > 3. This may be due to old age, stupidity, and laziness.

Property is a nuisance.

The purpose of life is to prove and to conjecture.

There'll be plenty of time to rest in the grave.
Quoted in D MacHale, Comic Sections (Dublin 1993)

My mother said, "Even you, Paul, can be in only one place at one time." Maybe soon I will be relieved of this disadvantage. Maybe, once I've left, I'll be able to be in many places at the same time. Maybe then I'll be able to collaborate with Archimedes and Euclid.

There are three signs of senility. The first sign is that a man forgets his theorems. The second sign is that he forgets to zip up. The third sign is that he forgets to zip down.


JOC/EFR April 2011

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