Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Meandering to and fro . . .

Today is the birthday of Jules Henri Poincaré (April 29, 1854 – July 17, 1912), physicist and a philosopher of science, oft referred to as a polymath.

"The scientist does not study nature because it is useful to do so. He studies it because he takes pleasure in it, and he takes pleasure in it because it is beautiful. If nature were not beautiful it would not be worth knowing, and life would not be worth living. I am not speaking, of course, of the beauty which strikes the senses, of the beauty of qualities and appearances. I am far from despising this, but it has nothing to do with science. What I mean is that more intimate beauty which comes from the harmonious order of its parts, and which a pure intelligence can grasp." - Henri Poincaré

"Science is built up with facts, as a house is with stones. But a collection of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house." - Henri Poincaré

"Time and Space... It is not nature which imposes them upon us, it is we who impose them upon nature because we find them convenient." - Henri Poincaré

"To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection." - Henri Poincaré

"It is by logic that we prove, but by intuition that we discover. To know how to criticize is good, to know how to create is better." - Henri Poincaré

Trivia bits: Henri Poincaré was one of many that took a stance for Alfred Dreyfus in the Dreyfus Affair. The crater Poincaré on the Moon and Asteroid 2021 Poincaré were named in his honor. Henri Poincaré was ambidextrous.

Poincaré stamp image source (1)

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