David Hilbert

1862 - 1943

A Quote by David Hilbert on mathematics, whole, indivisible, organism, and parts

Mathematical science is in my opinion an indivisible whole, an organism whose vitality is conditioned upon the connection of its parts.

David Hilbert (1862 - 1943)

Source: as quoted in Excursions in Calculus, by R.M. Young.

Contributed by: bajarbattu

A Quote by David Hilbert on art and mathematics

The art of doing mathematics consists in finding that special case which contains all the germs of generality.

David Hilbert (1862 - 1943)

Source: N. Rose Mathematical Maxims and Minims, Raleigh NC: Rome Press Inc., 1988.

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by David Hilbert on science and theory

The further a mathematical theory is developed, the more harmoniously and uniformly does its construction proceed, and unsuspected relations are disclosed between hitherto separated branches of the science.

David Hilbert (1862 - 1943)

Source: N. Rose Mathematical Maxims and Minims, Raleigh NC: Rome Press Inc., 1988.

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by David Hilbert on questions and spirit

The infinite! No other question has ever moved so profoundly the spirit of man.

David Hilbert (1862 - 1943)

Source: J. R. Newman (ed.) The World of Mathematics, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1956.

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by David Hilbert

Wir müssen wissen. Wir werden wissen.

David Hilbert (1862 - 1943)

Source: [Engraved on his tombstone in Göttingen.]

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by David Hilbert on confusion and losing

I do not want to presuppose anything as known. I see in my explanation in section 1 the definition of the concepts point, straight line and plane, if one adds to these all the axioms of groups i-v as characteristics. If one is looking for other definitions of point, perhaps by means of paraphrase in terms of extensionless, etc., then, of course, I would most decidedly have to oppose such an enterprise. One is then looking for something that can never be found, for there is nothing there, and everything gets lost, becomes confused and vague, and degenerates into a game of hide and seek.

David Hilbert (1862 - 1943)

Source: Letter to Frege, 1899

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by David Hilbert on beginning, failure, study, and time

Before beginning I should put in three years of intensive study, and I haven't that much time to squander on a probable failure. [On why he didn't try to solve Fermat's last theorem]

David Hilbert (1862 - 1943)

Source: Quoted in E.T. Bell Mathematics, Queen and Servant of Science, New York: McGraw Hill Inc., 1951.

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by David Hilbert on belief, religion, science, and time

Galileo was no idiot. Only an idiot could believe that science requires martyrdom - that may be necessary in religion, but in time a scientific result will establish itself.

David Hilbert (1862 - 1943)

Source: H. Eves Mathematical Circles Squared, Boston: Prindle, Weber and Schmidt, 1971.

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by David Hilbert on inventions, science, theory, time, and understanding

How thoroughly it is ingrained in mathematical science that every real advance goes hand in hand with the invention of sharper tools and simpler methods which, at the same time, assist in understanding earlier theories and in casting aside some more complicated developments.

David Hilbert (1862 - 1943)

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by David Hilbert on ideas

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I have tried to avoid long numerical computations, thereby following Riemann's postulate that proofs should be given through ideas and not voluminous computations.

David Hilbert (1862 - 1943)

Source: Report on Number Theory, 1897.

Contributed by: Zaady

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