Ellery W. Davis
(29 Mar 1857 - 3 Feb 1918)
Science Quotes by Ellery W. Davis (1 quote)
[J.J.] Sylvesters methods! He had none. Three lectures will be delivered on a New Universal Algebra, he would say; then, The course must be extended to twelve. It did last all the rest of that year. The following year the course was to be Substitutions-Thιorie, by Netto. We all got the text. He lectured about three times, following the text closely and stopping sharp at the end of the hour. Then he began to think about matrices again. I must give one lecture a week on those, he said. He could not confine himself to the hour, nor to the one lecture a week. Two weeks were passed, and Netto was forgotten entirely and never mentioned again. Statements like the following were not unfrequent in his lectures: I havent proved this, but I am as sure as I can be of anything that it must be so. From this it will follow, etc. At the next lecture it turned out that what he was so sure of was false. Never mind, he kept on forever guessing and trying, and presently a wonderful discovery followed, then another and another. Afterward he would go back and work it all over again, and surprise us with all sorts of side lights. He then made another leap in the dark, more treasures were discovered, and so on forever.
— Ellery W. Davis