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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index G > Carl Friedrich Gauss Quotes > Education

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Carl Friedrich Gauss
(30 Apr 1777 - 23 Feb 1855)

German mathematician who transformed nearly all areas of mathematics, and contributed much to other areas of science.


Carl Friedrich Gauss Quotes on Education (5 quotes)

>> Click for 51 Science Quotes by Carl Friedrich Gauss

>> Click for Carl Friedrich Gauss Quotes on | Biography | Mathematics | Number |

I am giving this winter two courses of lectures to three students, of which one is only moderately prepared, the other less than moderately, and the third lacks both preparation and ability. Such are the onera of a mathematical profession.
— Carl Friedrich Gauss
Letter to Friedrich Bessel (4 Dec 1808). In Gauss-Bessel Briefwechsel (1880), 107. In Robert Ιdouard Moritz, Memorabilia Mathematica; Or, The Philomath's Quotation-book (1914), 158.
Science quotes on:  |  Ability (153)  |  Both (494)  |  Course (408)  |  Education (379)  |  Lack (119)  |  Lecture (106)  |  Other (2236)  |  Preparation (58)  |  Profession (102)  |  Student (301)  |  Two (937)  |  Winter (44)

I have a true aversion to teaching. The perennial business of a professor of mathematics is only to teach the ABC of his science; most of the few pupils who go a step further, and usually to keep the metaphor, remain in the process of gathering information, become only Halbwisser [one who has superficial knowledge of the subject], for the rarer talents do not want to have themselves educated by lecture courses, but train themselves. And with this thankless work the professor loses his precious time.
— Carl Friedrich Gauss
Letter to Heinrich Olbers (26 Oct 1802). Quoted in G. Waldo Dunnington, Carl Friedrich Gauss: Titan of Science (2004), 414.
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In my opinion instruction is very purposeless for such individuals who do no want merely to collect a mass of knowledge, but are mainly interested in exercising (training) their own powers. One doesn't need to grasp such a one by the hand and lead him to the goal, but only from time to time give him suggestions, in order that he may reach it himself in the shortest way.
— Carl Friedrich Gauss
Letter to Heinrich Schumacher (2 Oct 1808). Quoted in G. Waldo Dunnington, Carl Friedrich Gauss: Titan of Science (2004), 416.
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To the distracting occupations belong especially my lecture courses which I am holding this winter for the first time, and which now cost much more of my time than I like. Meanwhile I hope that the second time this expenditure of time will be much less, otherwise I would never be able to reconcile myself to it, even practical (astronomical) work must give far more satisfaction than if one brings up to B a couple more mediocre heads which otherwise would have stopped at A.
— Carl Friedrich Gauss
Letter to Friedrich Bessel (4 Dec 1808). Quoted in G. Waldo Dunnington, Carl Friedrich Gauss: Titan of Science (2004), 415.
Science quotes on:  |  Belong (162)  |  Cost (87)  |  Course (408)  |  Education (379)  |  Expenditure (15)  |  First (1284)  |  Hope (299)  |  Lecture (106)  |  Mediocre (14)  |  More (2559)  |  Must (1526)  |  Myself (212)  |  Never (1087)  |  Occupation (48)  |  Practical (200)  |  Reconcile (18)  |  Satisfaction (74)  |  Time (1877)  |  Will (2354)  |  Winter (44)  |  Work (1351)

…as our friend Zach has often noted, in our days those who do the best for astronomy are not the salaried university professors, but so-called dillettanti, physicians, jurists, and so forth.Lamenting the fragmentary time left to a professor has remaining after fulfilling his teaching duties.
— Carl Friedrich Gauss
Letter to Heinrich Olbers (26 Oct 1802). Quoted in G. Waldo Dunnington, Carl Friedrich Gauss: Titan of Science (2004), 415.
Science quotes on:  |  Astronomy (231)  |  Best (459)  |  Call (769)  |  Do (1908)  |  Education (379)  |  Fragmentary (8)  |  Friend (168)  |  Physician (273)  |  Professor (129)  |  Remaining (45)  |  So-Called (71)  |  Teaching (188)  |  Time (1877)  |  University (121)


See also:
  • 30 Apr - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Gauss's birth.
  • Carl Friedrich Gauss: Titan of Science, by G. Waldo Dunnington. - book suggestion.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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- 30 -
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