Quotations by Hermann Hankel


In most sciences one generation tears down what another has built, and what one has established, another undoes. In mathematics alone each generation adds a new storey to the old structure.
Quoted in D MacHale, Comic Sections (Dublin 1993)

[Mathematics is] purely intellectual, a pure theory of forms, which has for its objects not the combination of quantities or their images, the numbers, but things of thought to which there could correspond effective objects or relations, even though such a correspondence is not necessary.
Quoted in M Kline, Mathematical thought from ancient to modern times (New York, 1972).

Isolated, so-called "pretty theorems" have even less value in the eyes of a modern mathematician than the discovery of a new "pretty flower" has to the scientific botanist, though the layman finds in these the chief charm of the respective sciences.


JOC/EFR February 2006

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