Karl Friedrich Gauss

1777 - 1855

A Quote by Karl Friedrich Gauss on confession, interest, and work

A reply to Olbers' attempt in 1816 to entice him to work on Fermat's Theorem. I confess that Fermat's Theorem as an isolated proposition has very little interest for me, because I could easily lay down a multitude of such propositions, which one could neither prove nor dispose of. []

Karl Friedrich Gauss (1777 - 1855)

Source: J. R. Newman (ed.) The World of Mathematics, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1956. p. 312.

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A Quote by Karl Friedrich Gauss on conviction and necessity

I am coming more and more to the conviction that the necessity of our geometry cannot be demonstrated, at least neither by, nor for, the human intellect. . . . Geometry should be ranked, not with arithmetic, which is purely aprioristic, but with mechanics.

Karl Friedrich Gauss (1777 - 1855)

Source: Quoted in J. Koenderink Solid Shape, Cambridge Mass.: MIT Press, 1990.

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A Quote by Karl Friedrich Gauss on god

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God does arithmetic.

Karl Friedrich Gauss (1777 - 1855)

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A Quote by Karl Friedrich Gauss on character, charm, discovery, simplicity, success, and theory

A great part of its [higher arithmetic] theories derives an additional charm from the peculiarity that important propositions, with the impress of simplicity on them, are often easily discovered by induction, and yet are of so profound a character that we cannot find the demonstrations till after many vain attempts; and even then, when we do succeed, it is often by some tedious and artificial process, while the simple methods may long remain concealed.

Karl Friedrich Gauss (1777 - 1855)

Source: H. Eves Mathematical Circles Adieu, Boston: Prindle, Weber and Schmidt, 1977.

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A Quote by Karl Friedrich Gauss on time

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I have had my results for a long time: but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them.

Karl Friedrich Gauss (1777 - 1855)

Source: A. Arber The Mind and the Eye 1954.

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A Quote by Karl Friedrich Gauss on clarity, darkness, imagination, knowledge, learning, order, possessions, satisfaction, and world

It is not knowledge, but the act of learning, not possession but the act of getting there, which grants the greatest enjoyment. When I have clarified and exhausted a subject, then I turn away from it, in order to go into darkness again. The never-satisfied man is so strange; if he has completed a structure, then it is not in order to dwell in it peacefully, but in order to begin another. I imagine the world conqueror must feel thus, who, after one kingdom is scarcely conquered, stretches out his arms for others.

Karl Friedrich Gauss (1777 - 1855)

Source: Letter to Bolyai, 1808.

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A Quote by Karl Friedrich Gauss on mathematics

Mathematics is the queen of the sciences.

Karl Friedrich Gauss (1777 - 1855)

Source: Sartorius von Waltershausen, Gauss zum Gedächtniss, 1856

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A Quote by Karl Friedrich Gauss on destiny, ethics, future, god, lies, mathematics, problems, science, and solution

There are problems to whose solution I would attach an infinitely greater importance than to those of mathematics, for example touching ethics, or our relation to God, or concerning our destiny and our future; but their solution lies wholly beyond us and completely outside the province of science.

Karl Friedrich Gauss (1777 - 1855)

Source: J. R. Newman (ed.) The World of Mathematics, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1956. p. 314.

Contributed by: Zaady

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