Portrait of Henri Poincaré

Henri Poincaré


French mathematician

Mathematics is the art of giving the same name to different things.

TOPICS: none

A  scientist worthy of the name, above all a mathematician, experiences in his work the same impression as an artist; his pleasure is as great and of the same nature.

TOPICS: mathematicians

The scientist does not study nature because it is useful; he studies it because he delights in it, and he delights in it because it is beautiful. If nature were not beautiful, it would not be worth knowing, and if nature were not worth knowing, life would not be worth living.

TOPICS: beauty, knowledge, nature, science

A first fact should surprise us, or rather would surprise us if we were not used to it. How does it happen there are people who do not understand mathematics? If mathematics invokes only the rules of logic, such as are accepted by all normal minds…how does it come about that so many persons are here refractory?

TOPICS: culture

Thus, be it understood, to demonstrate a theorem, it is neither necessary nor even advantageous to know what it means.

TOPICS: theorems

Mathematical discoveries, small or great, are never born of spontaneous generation. They always presuppose a soil seeded with preliminary knowledge and well prepared by labour, both conscious and subconscious.

TOPICS: discovery

To force the future of mathematics the true method is to study its history and its present state.

TOPICS: history

What is it indeed that gives us the feeling of elegance in a solution, in a demonstration? It is the harmony of the diverse parts, their symmetry, their happy balance; in a word it is all that introduces order, all that gives unity, that permits us to see clearly and to comprehend at once both the ensemble and the details.

TOPICS: beauty

Mathematicians do not study objects, but relations among objects; they are indifferent to the replacement of objects by others as long as the relations don’t change. Matter is not important, only form interests them.

TOPICS: mathematicians