Jules Henri Poincare

1854 - 1912

A Quote by Jules Henri Poincaré on belief, facts, knowledge, laws, leadership, and study

The mathematical facts worthy of being studied are those which, by their analogy with other facts, are capable of leading us to the knowledge of a physical law. They reveal the kinship between other facts, long known, but wrongly believed to be strangers to one another.

Jules Henri Poincare (1854 - 1912)

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

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Jules Henri Poincaré on creativity, experience, force, and mind

The mind uses its faculty for creativity only when experience forces it to do so.

Jules Henri Poincare (1854 - 1912)

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A Quote by Jules Henri Poincaré on thought

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Thought is only a flash between two long nights, but this flash is everything.

Jules Henri Poincare (1854 - 1912)

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

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A Quote by Jules Henri Poincaré on assumptions, imagination, logic, machines, needs, and understanding

Thus, be it understood, to demonstrate a theorem, it is neither necessary nor even advantageous to know what it means. The geometer might be replaced by the "logic piano" imagined by Stanley Jevons; or, if you choose, a machine might be imagined where the assumptions were put in at one end, while the theorems came out at the other, like the legendary Chicago machine where the pigs go in alive and come out transformed into hams and sausages. No more than these machines need the mathematician know what he does.

Jules Henri Poincare (1854 - 1912)

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

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Jules Henri Poincaré on balance, diversity, feeling, happiness, harmony, order, solution, and unity

What is it indeed that gives us the feeling of elegance in a solution, in a demonstration? It is the harmony of the diverse parts, their symmetry, their happy balance; in a word it is all that introduces order, all that gives unity, that permits us to see clearly and to comprehend at once both the ensemble and the details.

Jules Henri Poincare (1854 - 1912)

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

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Jules Henri Poincaré on contentment and study

Mathematicians do not study objects, but relations between objects. Thus, they are free to replace some objects by others so long as the relations remain unchanged. Content to them is irrelevant: they are interested in form only.

Jules Henri Poincare (1854 - 1912)

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A Quote by Jules Henri Poincaré on beauty, intelligence, life, nature, order, purity, science, scientists, senses, study, and worth

The scientist does not study nature because it is useful; he studies it because he delights in it, and he delights in it because it is beautiful. If nature were not beautiful, it would not be worth knowing, and if nature were not worth knowing, life would not be worth living. Of course I do not here speak of that beauty that strikes the senses, the beauty of qualities and appearances; not that I undervalue such beauty, far from it, but it has nothing to do with science; I mean that profounder beauty which comes from the harmonious order of the parts, and which a pure intelligence can grasp.

Jules Henri Poincare (1854 - 1912)

Source: quoted by Gary William Flake in The Computational Beauty of Nature, 1998

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Jules Henri Poincaré on intuition and science

It is through science that we prove, but through intuition that we discover.

Jules Henri Poincare (1854 - 1912)

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A Quote by Jules Henri Poincaré on adoption, mind, words, and world

. . . by natural selection our mind has adapted itself to the conditions of the external world. It has adopted the geometry most advantageous to the species or, in other words, the most convenient. Geometry is not true, it is advantageous.

Jules Henri Poincare (1854 - 1912)

Source: Science and Method.

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Jules Henri Poincaré on debate, disease, generations, mathematics, and theory

Later generations will regard Mengenlehre (set theory) as a disease from which one has recovered. [Whether or not he actually said this is a matter of debate amongst historians of mathematics.]

Jules Henri Poincare (1854 - 1912)

Source: The Mathematical Intelligencer, vol 13, no. 1, Winter 1991.

Contributed by: Zaady

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