J. E. Littlewood

1885 - 1977

A Quote by J. E. Littlewood on good, jokes, mathematics, and mediocrity

A good mathematical joke is better, and better mathematics, than a dozen mediocre papers.

J. E. Littlewood (1885 - 1977)

Source: A Mathematician's Miscellany, Methuen and Co. ltd., 1953.

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by J. E. Littlewood on learning

A linguist would be shocked to learn that if a set is not closed this does not mean that it is open, or again that "E is dense in E" does not mean the same thing as "E is dense in itself".

J. E. Littlewood (1885 - 1977)

Source: A Mathematician's Miscellany, Methuen Co. Ltd., 1953.

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by J. E. Littlewood on habits and needs

A precisian professor had the habit of saying: "... quartic polynomial ax^4+bx^3+cx^2+dx+e , where e need not be the base of the natural logarithms."

J. E. Littlewood (1885 - 1977)

Source: A Mathematician's Miscellany, Methuen Co. Ltd., 1953.

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by J. E. Littlewood on failure, needs, people, potential, reason, and teaching

I constantly meet people who are doubtful, generally without due reason, about their potential capacity [as mathematicians]. The first test is whether you got anything out of geometry. To have disliked or failed to get on with other [mathematical] subjects need mean nothing; much drill and drudgery is unavoidable before they can get started, and bad teaching can make them unintelligible even to a born mathematician.

J. E. Littlewood (1885 - 1977)

Source: A Mathematician's Miscellany, Methuen and Co. ltd., 1953.

Contributed by: Zaady

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