Thursday, April 30, 2009

How did I get here . . .

Today is the birthday of Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss (April 30, 1777 – February 23, 1855), mathematician and scientist. He is oft referred to as "the Prince of Mathematicians" and was known to be as eccentric as he was brilliant.

"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." - Carl Friedrich Gauss

"We must admit with humility that, while number is purely a product of our minds, space has a reality outside our minds, so that we cannot completely prescribe its properties a priori. " - Carl Friedrich Gauss

"It is always noteworthy that all those who seriously study this science [the theory of numbers] conceive a sort of passion for it." - Carl Friedrich Gauss

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

Gauss stamp image source (1)

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