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**Identity****Member**- Registered: 2007-04-18
- Posts: 934

Some time ago in the internet I remember seeing this webcomic (was it xkcd? or one of the math-y webcomics) with a nice math quote. There was this was this guy riding a dragon (or was it a dinosaur?), and there were math-y symbols everywhere. Beneath was a quote by a mathematician which went something like:

(I'm paraphrasing) "One does not read mathematics, one fights it. Ask questions, find limiting cases ... "

I vaguely remember that it might have been attributed to Erdos, but I've been looking everywhere online and I can't seem to find the quote again.

If anyone else comes across it please tell me

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**bobbym****Administrator**- From: Bumpkinland
- Registered: 2009-04-12
- Posts: 102,845

Hi Identity;

That quote is alot like my signature!

**In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.****If it ain't broke, fix it until it is.** **A number by itself is useful, but it is far more useful to know how accurate or certain that number is.**

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**DaveRobinsonUK1****Member**- Registered: 2011-12-01
- Posts: 12

'In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.'

Richard Feynman??

I see it, but I don't believe it.

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**Identity****Member**- Registered: 2007-04-18
- Posts: 934

I think it is Neumann, great mathematician, great quote.

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**bobbym****Administrator**- From: Bumpkinland
- Registered: 2009-04-12
- Posts: 102,845

Hi;

Yes, It is old Johnny. It is amazing how many people have argued with that statement. Some have become angry at it saying it is heresy. How can anyone say we do not understand the math we are doing? As long as they think I said it the ad hominem attacks are numerous. "Well maybe you do not but I am a graduate of such and such university and have 57.2958... degrees and I know what I am talking about..." is a common retort. I feel that if a guy like Von Neumann says something we ought to at least think about it.

**In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.****If it ain't broke, fix it until it is.** **A number by itself is useful, but it is far more useful to know how accurate or certain that number is.**

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**DaveRobinsonUK1****Member**- Registered: 2011-12-01
- Posts: 12

I'm going to read my book again that has that quote in it. And then write to the author with a shaking fist. Homer Simpson style

Although it could be that I am reading from too many books and getting confused.

These are the people who treat maths as a religion. They are the people who just accepted that [math]I'm going to read my book again that has that quote in it. And then write to the author with a shaking fist. Homer Simpson style

*Last edited by DaveRobinsonUK1 (2012-01-22 21:56:03)*

I see it, but I don't believe it.

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**Identity****Member**- Registered: 2007-04-18
- Posts: 934

I found the quote I was looking for while reading Terence Tao's blog

"Dont just read it; fight it! Ask your own questions, look for your own examples, discover your own proofs. Is the hypothesis necessary? Is the converse true? What happens in the classical special case? What about the degenerate cases? Where does the proof use the hypothesis?"

- Paul Halmos

And, googling the quote, I found where I first saw it: http://abstrusegoose.com/353

*Last edited by Identity (2012-02-04 06:37:45)*

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**bobbym****Administrator**- From: Bumpkinland
- Registered: 2009-04-12
- Posts: 102,845

Hi Identity;

Nice picture! I could not agree more.

**In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.****If it ain't broke, fix it until it is.** **A number by itself is useful, but it is far more useful to know how accurate or certain that number is.**

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