Quotations by Gian-Carlo Rota


We often hear that mathematics consists mainly of "proving theorems." Is a writer's job mainly that of "writing sentences?"

The progress of mathematics can be viewed as progress from the infinite to the finite.

Philosophers and psychiatrists should explain why it is that we mathematicians are in the habit of systematically erasing our footsteps. Scientists have always looked askance at this strange habit of mathematicians, which has changed little from Pythagoras to our day.

Why is it that Serge Lange's Linear Algebra, published by no less a Verlag than Springer, ostentatiously displays the sale of a few thousand copies over a period of fifteen years, while the same title by Seymour Lipschutz in the The Schaum's Outlines will be considered a failure unless it brings in a steady annual income from the sale of a few hundred thousand copies in twenty-six languages?
Indiscrete Thoughts

Stan Ulam was lazy, ... He talked too much ... He was self-centered ... He had an overpowering personality...
Indiscrete Thoughts See Ulam's comment about Rota


JOC/EFR February 2006

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