I always enjoy Cliff Pickover’s approach to mathematics, which he conveys with a sense of awe, mystery, and a bit of fun, too! Cliff is a prolific author of such popular past works as The Math Book and The Physics Book.
His latest book is The Mathematics Devotional: Celebrating the Wisdom and Beauty of Mathematics. Every page of this yearlong devotional features an intriguing quotation about math, alongside a beautiful artwork relating to mathematics: fractals, optical illusions, architecture, and more. The quotes range from Pythagoras to Feynman to Churchill. At the end of the book is a brief biographical dictionary that provides additional curiosities.
Neatorama is proud to present some of the beautiful images and quotations from The Mathematics Devotional.
“Blindness to the aesthetic element in mathematics is widespread and can account for a feeling that mathematics is dry as dust, as exciting as a telephone book... Contrariwise, appreciation of this element makes the subject live in a wonderful manner and burn as no other creation of the human mind seems to do.”
-- Philip J. Davis and Reuben Hersh, The Mathematical Experience, 1981
“Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty—a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture.”
-- Bertrand Russell, Mysticism and Logic, 1918
“The miracle of appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it, and hope that it will remain valid for future research, and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.”
-- Eugene Wigner, “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics,” Communications on Pure and Applied Mathematics, 1960
“One cannot escape the feeling that these mathematical formulae have an independent existence and an intelligence of their own, that they are wiser than we are, wiser even than their discoverers, that we get more out of them than was originally put into them.”
-- Heinrich Hertz, quoted in E. T. Bell’s Men of Mathematics, 1937
“Even stranger things have happened; and perhaps the strangest of all is the marvel that mathematics should be possible to a race akin to the apes.”
-- Eric Temple Bell, The Development of Mathematics, 1945
“It is impossible to be a mathematician without being a poet in soul.”
-- Sofia Kovalevskaya, Recollections of Childhood, 1895
If you know someone who appreciates the beauty in mathematics, The Mathematics Devotional by Clifford A Pickover would make a wonderful Christmas gift. Give the gift of daily inspiration that will last an entire year and beyond! You can read more about the book and find it at Amazon or a bookstore near you.
Credits for each of these images can be found in Cliff's book.