# Eric Temple Bell, 1883 - 1960

Born: 7 February 1883, Peterhead, Scotland, UK

Died: 21 December 1960, Watsonville, California

Biography from Wikipedia and Univeersity of Massachusetts

### Eric Temple Bell quotes:

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- Abstractness, sometimes hurled as a reproach at mathematics, is its chief glory and its surest title to practical usefulness. It is also the source of such beauty as may spring from mathematics.
*permalink**The Development of Mathematics*(1940) - Any impatient student of mathematics or science or engineering who is irked by having algebraic symbolism thrust upon him should try to get along without it for a week.
*permalink**Mathematics: Queen and Servant of Science*(1938) - Euclid taught me that without assumptions there is no proof. Therefore, in any argument, examine the assumptions.
*permalink**Mathematics Magazine*, Vol. 23-24. (1949) - Euclid taught me that without assumptions there is no proof. Therefore, in any argument, examine the assumptions. Then, in the alleged proof, be alert for inexplicit assumptions. Euclid's notorious oversights drove this lesson home.
*permalink**Mathematics Magazine*, Vol. 23-24. (1949) - Fashion as king is sometimes a very stupid ruler.
*permalink**Mathematics: Queen and Servant of Science*(1938) - Guided only by their feeling for symmetry, simplicity, and generality, and an indefinable sense of the fitness of things, creative mathematicians now, as in the past, are inspired by the art of mathematics rather than by any prospect of ultimate usefulness.
*permalink*quoted by John de Pillis in

*777 Mathematical Conversation Starters*(2002) - Out of fifty mathematical papers presented in brief at such a meeting, it is a rare mathematician indeed who really understands what more than half a dozen are about.
*permalink**Mathematics: Queen and Servant of Science*(1938) - Perfection is a chimaera, and that, in the words of Crelle, we can only hope for closer and closer approximations to mathematical truth — whatever that may be, if anything.
*permalink**Men of Mathematics: The Lives and Achievements of the Great Mathematicians from Zeno to Poincaré*(1937) - Science makes no pretension to eternal truth or absolute truth; some of its rivals do. That science is in some respects inhuman may be the secret of its success in alleviating human misery and mitigating human stupidity.
*permalink**Mathematics: Queen and Servant of Science*(1938) - The cowboys have a way of trussing up a steer or a pugnacious bronco which fixes the brute so that it can neither move nor think. This is the hog-tie, and it is what Euclid did to geometry.
*permalink**The Search for Truth*(1934) - The mistakes and unresolved difficulties of the past in mathematics have always been the opportunities of its future; and should analysis ever appear to be without or blemish, its perfection might only be that of death.
*permalink**The Development of Mathematics*(1940) - The pursuit of pretty formulas and neat theorems can no doubt quickly degenerate into a silly vice, but so also can the quest for austere generalities which are so very general indeed that they are incapable of application to any particular.
*permalink**Men of Mathematics: The Lives and Achievements of the Great Mathematicians from Zeno to Poincaré*(1937) - The so-called obvious was repeatedly scrutinized from every angle and was frequently found to be not obvious but false. "Obvious" is the most dangerous word in mathematics.
*permalink**Mathematics: Queen and Servant of Science*(1938) - This does not mean that objections cannot be well taken: it merely calls attention to the fact that in mathematics, as in everything else, this earth is not yet to be confused with the Kingdom of Heaven.
*permalink**Men of Mathematics: The Lives and Achievements of the Great Mathematicians from Zeno to Poincaré*(1937)

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