If only I had the Theorems! Then I should find the proofs easily enough.

— Bernhard Riemann

## Sensational Mathematical Proof quotations

A multitude of words is no proof of a prudent mind.

To divide a cube into two other cubes, a fourth power, or in general any power whatever into two powers of the same denomination above the second is impossible, and I have assuredly found an admirable proof of this, but the margin is too narrow to contain it.

In the broad light of day mathematicians check their equations and their proofs, leaving no stone unturned in their search for rigour. But, at night, under the full moon, they dream, they float among the stars and wonder at the miracle of the heavens. They are inspired. Without dreams there is no art, no mathematics, no life.

Lottery: A tax on people who are bad at math.

When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it.

### Euclid taught me that without assumptions there is no proof.

Therefore, in any argument, examine the assumptions.

Don't just read it; fight it! Ask your own question, look for your own examples, discover your own proofs. Is the hypothesis necessary? Is the converse true? ... Where does the proof use the hypothesis?

A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.

God has the Big Book, the beautiful proofs of mathematical theorems are listed here.

Nothing has afforded me so convincing a proof of the unity of the Deity as these purely mental conceptions of numerical and mathematical science.

Thus, in a sense, mathematics has been most advanced by those who distinguished themselves by intuition rather than by rigorous proofs.

I read in the proof sheets of Hardy on Ramanujan: "As someone said, each of the positive integers was one of his personal friends." My reaction was, "I wonder who said that; I wish I had." In the next proof-sheets I read (what now stands), "It was Littlewood who said..."

I think it is said that Gauss had ten different proofs for the law of quadratic reciprocity. Any good theorem should have several proofs, the more the better. For two reasons: usually, different proofs have different strengths and weaknesses, and they generalise in different directions - they are not just repetitions of each other.

### Mathematics is not a deductive science - that's a cliché.

.. What you do is trial and error, experimentation, guesswork.

Mathematics consists in proving the most obvious thing in the least obvious way.

### Besides it is an error to believe that rigour is the enemy of simplicity.

On the contrary we find it confirmed by numerous examples that the rigorous method is at the same time the simpler and the more easily comprehended. The very effort for rigor forces us to find out simpler methods of proof.

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.

It is shocking that young people should be addling their brains over mere logical subtleties in Euclid's Elements, trying to understand the proof of one obvious fact in terms of something equally .. obvious.

Mathematics does not grow through a monotonous increase of the number of indubitably established theorems but through the incessant improvement of guesses by speculation and criticism, by the logic of proofs and refutations.

I have tried to avoid long numerical computations, thereby following Riemann's postulate that proofs should be given through ideas and not voluminous computations.

### Mathematics is the art of explanation.

If you deny students the opportunity to engage in this activity-- to pose their own problems, to make their own conjectures and discoveries, to be wrong, to be creatively frustrated, to have an inspiration, and to cobble together their own explanations and proofs-- you deny them mathematics itself.

What good your beautiful proof on the transcendence of Pi: Why investigate such problems, given that irrational numbers do not even exist?

A mathematician's reputation rests on the number of bad proofs he has given.

[On Archimedes mathematical results:] It is not possible to find in all geometry more difficult and intricate questions, or more simple and lucid explanation... No investigation of yours would succeed in attaining the proof, and yet, once seen you immediately believe you would have discovered it.

### A mathematical proof must be perspicuous.

Mathematics is the most exact science, and its conclusions are capable of absolute proof. But this is so only because mathematics does not attempt to draw absolute conclusions. All mathematical truths are relative, conditional. In E. T. Bell Men of Mathematics, New York: Simona and Schuster, 1937.

### Mathematics, however, is, as it were, its own explanation;

this, although it may seem hard to accept, is nevertheless true, for the recognition that a fact is so is the cause upon which we base the proof.

The result of the mathematician's creative work is demonstrative reasoning, a proof; but the proof is discovered by plausible reasoning, by guessing.

### The goal of a definition is to introduce a mathematical object.

The goal of a theorem is to state some of its properties, or interrelations between various objects. The goal of a proof is to make such a statement convincing by presenting a reasoning subdivided into small steps each of which is justified as an "elementary" convincing argument.

We are not very pleased when we are forced to accept a mathematical truth by virtue of a complicated chain of formal conclusions and computations, which we traverse blindly, link by link, feeling our way by touch. We want first an overview of the aim and of the road; we want to understand the idea of the proof, the deeper context.

### We often hear that mathematics consists mainly of "proving theorems.

" Is a writer's job mainly that of "writing sentences?"

### Absence of proof isn't proof of absence.

Euclid manages to obtain a rigorous proof without ever dealing with infinity, by reducing the problem [of the infinitude of primes] to the study of finite numbers. This is exactly what contemporary mathematical analysis does.

A mathematical proof is beautiful, but when you're finished, it's really only about one thing. A story can be about many things.

A modern mathematical proof is not very different from a modern machine, or a modern test setup: the simple fundamental principles are hidden and almost invisible under a mass of technical details.

A felicitous but unproved conjecture may be of much more consequence for mathematics than the proof of many a respectable theorem.

It is my experience that proofs involving matrices can be shortened by 50% if one throws the matrices out.