The attempt to apply rational arithmetic to a problem in geometry resulted in the first crisis in the history of mathematics. The two relatively simple problems -- the determination of the diagonal of a square and that of the circumference of a circle -- revealed the existence of new mathematical beings for which no place could be found within the rational domain.

— David van Dantzig

The most killer David van Dantzig quotes that are free to learn and impress others

How then shall mathematical concepts be judged? They shall not be judged.

Mathematics is the supreme arbiter. From its decisions there is no appeal. We cannot change the rules of the game, we cannot ascertain whether the game is fair. We can only study the player at his game; not, however, with the detached attitude of a bystander, for we are watching our own minds at play.

famous quotes