David Hilbert

1862 - 1943

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

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