Quotations by Johann Heinrich Lambert


This hypothesis (Parallel hypothesis) would not destroy itself at all easily.

I should almost therefore put forward the proposal that the third hypothsis (angle sum of a triangle less than two right angles) holds on the surface of an imaginary sphere.

Proofs of the Euclidean [parallel] postulate can be developed to such an extent that apparently a mere trifle remains. But a careful analysis shows that in this seeming trifle lies the crux of the matter; usually it contains either the proposition that is being proved or a postulate equivalent to it.
Quoted in C B Boyer, A History of Mathematics (New York 1968)

I am undecided whether or not the Milky Way is but one of countless others all of which form an entire system. Perhaps the light from these infinitely distant galaxies is so faint that we cannot see them.
Quoted in E Maor, To infinity and beyond (Princeton 1991)


JOC/EFR December 2013

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