Magnificent mathematicians talk mathematics and, for the sake of balance, a few non-mathematicians’ thoughts too!

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By The Doc

Magnificent mathematicians talk mathematics and, for the sake of balance, a few non-mathematicians’ thoughts too!

“The uniform character of mathematics is the essence of science, for mathematics is the foundation of all exact scientific knowledge.”

David Hilbert, 1862 – 1943

Mathematician

“Geometry is one and eternal shining in the mind of God. That men share in it is among the reasons that Man is the image of God.”

Johannes Kepler, 1571 – 1630

Mathematician and Astronomer

“Mathematics is the language in which the gods speak to people.”

Plato, c. 427 BC – c. 347 BC

Mathematician and Philosopher

“In my experience most mathematicians are intellectually lazy and especially dislike reading experimental papers.”

Francis Crick, 1916 – 2004

Molecular Biologist

“The legend that every cipher is breakable is of course absurd, though still widespread among people who should know better.”

J.E. Littlewood, 1885 – 1977

Mathematician

“Surely it is not knowledge, but learning; not owning but earning; not being there, but getting there; that gives us the greatest pleasure.”

Carl Friedrich Gauss, 1777 – 1855

Mathematician and Physicist

“Actually, everything that can be known has a number; for it is impossible to grasp anything with the mind or to recognize it without this.”

Philolaus, c. 470 – c. 385 BC

Scientist and Philosopher

“Euclid’s work ought to have been any educationist’s nightmare… it never offers any “motivations,” it has no illuminating “asides,” it does not attempt to make anything “intuitive,” and it avoids “applications” to a fault. It is so “humorless” in its mathematical purism that… …it should have been spurned by students and “progressive” teachers in every generation. But it nevertheless survived intact all the turmoils, ravages, and illiteracies of the dissolving Roman Empire, of the early Dark Ages, of the Crusades, and of the plagues and famines of the later Middle Ages.”

Salomon Bochner, 1899 – 1982

Mathematician

“There may be babblers, wholly ignorant of mathematics, who dare to condemn my hypothesis, upon the authority of some part of the Bible twisted to suit their purpose. I value them not, and scorn their unfounded judgment.”

Nicolaus Copernicus, 1473 – 1543

Mathematician and Astronomer

“Before the Copernican revolution, it was natural to suppose that God’s purposes were specifically concerned with the earth, but now this has become an unplausible hypothesis. If it is the purpose of the Cosmos to evolve mind, we must regard it as rather incompetent in having produced so little in such a long time.”

Bertrand Russell, 1872 – 1970

Mathematician and Philosopher

“I have eaten 2/3 of 1/3 of my food ration. 7 remains. How much food did I start with?”

Cuneiform

Babylonian mathematics exercise, 1900 – 1600 BC

“I see some parallels between the shifts of fashion in mathematics and in music. In music, the popular new styles of jazz and rock became fashionable a little earlier than the new mathematical styles of chaos and complexity theory. Jazz and rock were long despised by classical musicians, but have emerged as art-forms more accessible than classical music to a wide section of the public. Jazz and rock are no longer to be despised as passing fads. Neither are chaos and complexity theory. But still, classical music and classical mathematics are not dead. Mozart lives, and so does Euler. When the wheel of fashion turns once more, quantum mechanics and hard analysis will once again be in style.”

Freeman Dyson, b. 1923

Mathematician and Physicist

“Simple laws can very well describe complex structures. The miracle is not the complexity of our world, but the simplicity of the equations describing that complexity.”

Sander Bais, b. 1945

Theoretical Physicist

“I am not insensible of the advantage which accrues to Applied Mathematics from the co-operation of the Pure Mathematician, and this co-operation is not infrequently called forth by the very imperfections of writers on Applied Mathematics.”

Ronald Fisher, 1890 – 1962

Mathematician, Statistician, Evolutionary Biologist

“In practical applications we are concerned only with comparatively small numbers; only stellar astronomy and atomic physics deal with ‘large’ numbers, and they have very little more practical importance, as yet, than the most abstract pure mathematics.”

G. H. Hardy, 1877 – 1947

Mathematician

“Geometry, inasmuch as it is concerned with real space, is no longer considered a part of pure mathematics; like mechanics and physics, it belongs among the applications of mathematics.”

Hermann Weyl, 1885 to 1955

Mathematician and Theoretical Physicist

“The ultimate truths of mathematics, then, cannot be established by any experimental proof that the deductions from them are true; since the supposed experimental proof takes them for granted.”

Herbert Spencer, 1885 – 1977

Philospher

“It is a platitude that pure mathematics can have unexpected consequences and affect even daily life.”

J.E. Littlewood, 1885 – 1977

Mathematician

“Pure mathematics exist by themselves; no will produces them, no power can limit them. They are eternal laws that no man can infringe, and from which it is impossible to escape.”

S. Sandaram Iyer, 1883

Philosopher

“Find the number such that if the whole of it is added to one-seventh of it, the result will be nineteen.”

The Ahmes Papyrus

Ancient Egyptian mathematics problem from c. 2200 BC

“The invention of logarithms came to the world as a bolt from the blue. No previous work had led up to it… It stands isolated, breaking in upon human thought abruptly, without borrowing from the work of other intellects or following known lines of mathematical thought.”

John Moulton, 1844 – 1921

Mathematician

“Division is esteemed one of the busiest operations of Arithmetic, and such as requireth a mind not wandering, or settled upon other matters.”

Thomas Hylles, The arte of vulgar arithmeticke, 1600

Mathematician

“The literary convention that numbers less than 10 should be given in words is often highly unsuitable in mathematics… The excessive use of the word forms is regrettably spreading at the present time.”

J.E. Littlewood, 1885 – 1977

Mathematician

“Suppose we have an unknown number of objects. When counted in threes, 2 are left over, when counted in fives, 3 are left over, and when counted in sevens, 2 are left over. How many objects are there?”

Sunzi, The Mathematical Classic of Sunzi

Chinese mathematics problem from c. 450 AD

“What exactly is mathematics? Many have tried but nobody has really succeeded in defining mathematics; it is always something else. Roughly speaking, people know that it deals with numbers, figures, with relations, operations, and that its formal procedures involving axioms, proofs, lemmas, theorems have not changed since the time of Archimedes.”

Stan Ulam, 1909 – 1984

Mathematician

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By Scientist

The field of zoology has many notable names with some of them dating back several hundred years. However, there are also more modern zoologists that have managed to make contributions to the field that the world will not soon forget. One zoologist that has managed to make a difference and raise awareness is a Steve Irwin. While he may be more known as a TV personality who wrestles crocodiles on TV and featuring different animals, Steve Irwin was also a zoologist, a naturalist, and a conservationist. He was more than just a guy in khakis playing with animals on TV so get to know more about Steve Irwin and his work. He left the world too soon by means of a freak accident but he will be remembered forever.

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Steve Irwin was born in Essendon in Melbourne on February 22, 1962 and shared the same birth date with his mother. His parents were Lyn and Bob Irwin and they moved to Queensland in 1970 when he was still a child. He went to school at Landsborough State School and for high school he attended Caloundra State High School. It really is not surprising why he became interested in animals because according to Irwin his father was a wildlife expert that had a huge interest in herpetology while his mother Lyn worked as a wildlife rehabilitator. In fact, when they moved to Queensland his parents started a modest-sized park known as the Queensland Reptile ad Fauna Park. Young Steve Irwin grew up in the company of not just crocodiles but other types of reptiles as well.

Steve Irwin was involved in the running of the park and was involved in several aspects of how it was run. He not only took part in the daily feeding of their animals but he also made sure they remained in good health and maintained the park facilities. While most young boys got bicycles or other toys for their birthdays, he was given a 4m long scrub python and by the time he turned 9, he was already handling crocs like a pro and wrestled his first crocodile under the watchful eye of his father. As he grew older, he did volunteer work for the East Coast Crocodile Management program in Queensland where he helped catch over 100 crocs. Some of the crocs where transferred to his family’s farm while others were relocated. He would spend months at a time looking for wayward crocs before they were hunted so he could relocate them to safer areas and all this he did with the help of his dog, Sui.

It was in the year 1991 when Irwin met a naturalist from Oregon named Terrie Raines and she was to become his wife. It started out innocently enough with Raines visiting Australia to check out wildlife rehabilitation facilities and decided to pay a visit to Irwin’s zoo. According to them, it was love at first site and after a four month engagement they got married in Eugene, Oregon.

They have two kids; the eldest is a girl named Bindi Sue Irwin and little boy named Robert Clarence Irwin. The girl was named for Irwin’s favorite animals and his dog while the little boy was named after Irwin’s dad. It has been said that if Irwin was enthusiastic about his animals, he was doubly in love with his family and kids. The Irwin’s were a happy family and made a great couple but they did not wear rings since they believed the rings could pose a danger to themselves and the animals they handled.

Instead of going on a honeymoon as average couples are wont to do, the Irwin’s decided to trap crocodiles together and the footage they took during their honeymoon became the very first episode of Irwin’s hit show *the Crocodile Hunter.* The show debuted on Australian TV in 1996 and slowly made its way to the US, the UK, and 130 other countries and was enjoyed by more than 500 million people.

As a host, Irwin was personable and exuberant and his broad Aussie accent just made him that much more appealing. Pretty soon, the Australian TV host not only had a signature catchphrase (crikey!) but also had a signature look that always consisted of a shirt and khaki shorts. Sir David Attenborough heaped praise on Irwin saying that he was a natural born communicator and taught people of all ages just how wonderful and exciting Mother Nature was. After the last episode of *The Crocodile Hunter *aired, Irwin went on to star in other Animal Planet shows and documentaries some of which are: *Croc Files, New Breed of Vets, *and *The Crocodile Hunter Diaries*.

Someone who loved the wild and animals and worked hard to promote the environment deserves awards and Steve Irwin got a lot of them. In fact, he even has a turtle named after him while he discovered it during a fishing trip. He called it the Irwin’s turtle or *Elseya Irwini*. An air-breathing type of snail that was found in Australia was also named after him and it is known as the *Crikey Steveirwini. *He was granted awards in Australia and other parts of the world for his conservation work. He was even nominated for the Australian of the Year Ward at one point.

Steve Irwin did not fear animals but he had a healthy respect for hem and what they were capable of doing. This is why what happened in September 4, 1996 so shocking. He was snorkeling in Batt reef when he was hit in the chest by a stingray which brought on his death. It is believed that his is the first and only ever death by stingray that was captured on film. All copies of the film were destroyed at the request of his family.

He is survived by his family and his legacy to protect nature and take care of animals is something that his kids and wife are doing their best to continue.

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