Celebrating 20 Years on the Web
TODAY IN SCIENCE HISTORY ®
Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition, we must lead it... That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index G > Carl Friedrich Gauss Quotes > Number

Thumbnail of Carl Friedrich Gauss (source)
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 Number (7 quotes)

>> Click for 51 Science Quotes by Carl Friedrich Gauss

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

I confess that Fermat’s Theorem as an isolated proposition has very little interest for me, for a multitude of such theorems can easily be set up, which one could neither prove nor disprove. But I have been stimulated by it to bring our again several old ideas for a great extension of the theory of numbers. Of course, this theory belongs to the things where one cannot predict to what extent one will succeed in reaching obscurely hovering distant goals. A happy star must also rule, and my situation and so manifold distracting affairs of course do not permit me to pursue such meditations as in the happy years 1796-1798 when I created the principal topics of my Disquisitiones arithmeticae. But I am convinced that if good fortune should do more than I expect, and make me successful in some advances in that theory, even the Fermat theorem will appear in it only as one of the least interesting corollaries.
In reply to Olbers' attempt in 1816 to entice him to work on Fermat's Theorem. The hope Gauss expressed for his success was never realised.
— Carl Friedrich Gauss
Letter to Heinrich Olbers (21 Mar 1816). Quoted in G. Waldo Dunnington, Carl Friedrich Gauss: Titan of Science (2004), 413.
Science quotes on:  |  Advance (280)  |  Attempt (251)  |  Belong (162)  |  Confess (42)  |  Course (408)  |  Disprove (24)  |  Do (1908)  |  Expect (201)  |  Express (187)  |  Extension (59)  |  Extent (139)  |  Pierre de Fermat (15)  |  Fortune (50)  |  Goal (146)  |  Good (889)  |  Great (1575)  |  Happy (105)  |  Hope (299)  |  Hovering (5)  |  Idea (845)  |  Interest (386)  |  Interesting (153)  |  Little (708)  |  Manifold (22)  |  Meditation (19)  |  More (2559)  |  Multitude (47)  |  Must (1526)  |  Never (1087)  |  Number (701)  |  Old (480)  |  Permit (58)  |  Predict (80)  |  Principal (63)  |  Proposition (123)  |  Prove (252)  |  Pursue (58)  |  Reply (56)  |  Rule (295)  |  Set (394)  |  Situation (113)  |  Star (430)  |  Succeed (109)  |  Success (303)  |  Successful (123)  |  Theorem (112)  |  Theory (972)  |  Theory Of Numbers (7)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Topic (21)  |  Will (2354)  |  Work (1351)  |  Year (932)

It is always noteworthy that all those who seriously study this science [the theory of numbers] conceive a sort of passion for it.
— Carl Friedrich Gauss
Letter to Jonos Boyai (2 Sep 1808). Quoted in G. Waldo Dunnington, Carl Friedrich Gauss: Titan of Science (2004), 413.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Conceive (99)  |  Mathematics (1333)  |  Number (701)  |  Passion (114)  |  Science (3880)  |  Study (656)  |  Theory (972)  |  Theory Of Numbers (7)

Mathematics is the queen of the sciences and arithmetic [number theory] is the queen of mathematics. She often condescends to render service to astronomy and other natural sciences, but in all relations, she is entitled to first rank.
— Carl Friedrich Gauss
I>Sartorius von Waltershausen: Gauss zum Gedδchtniss (1856), 79. Quoted in Robert Edouard Moritz, Memorabilia Mathematica (1914), 271.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Arithmetic (139)  |  Astronomy (231)  |  First (1284)  |  Mathematics (1333)  |  Natural (796)  |  Natural Science (128)  |  Number (701)  |  Number Theory (6)  |  Other (2236)  |  Queen Of The Sciences (6)  |  Rank (67)  |  Render (93)  |  Science (3880)  |  Service (110)  |  Theory (972)

That this subject [of imaginary magnitudes] has hitherto been considered from the wrong point of view and surrounded by a mysterious obscurity, is to be attributed largely to an ill-adapted notation. If, for example, +1, -1, and the square root of -1 had been called direct, inverse and lateral units, instead of positive, negative and imaginary (or even impossible), such an obscurity would have been out of the question.
— Carl Friedrich Gauss
Theoria Residiorum Biquadraticorum, Commentario secunda', Werke (1863), Vol. 2. Quoted in Robert Edouard Moritz, Memorabilia Mathematica (1914), 282.
Science quotes on:  |  Adapt (66)  |  Call (769)  |  Consider (416)  |  Direct (225)  |  Impossible (253)  |  Magnitude (83)  |  Mysterious (80)  |  Negative (63)  |  Notation (27)  |  Number (701)  |  Point (580)  |  Point Of View (82)  |  Positive (94)  |  Question (622)  |  Root (120)  |  Square (70)  |  Square Root (12)  |  Subject (522)  |  View (488)  |  Wrong (234)

The problem of distinguishing prime numbers from composite numbers and of resolving the latter into their prime factors is known to be one of the most important and useful in arithmetic. It has engaged the industry and wisdom of ancient and modern geometers to such an extent that it would be superfluous to discuss the problem at length... Further, the dignity of the science itself seems to require that every possible means be explored for the solution of a problem so elegant and so celebrated.
— Carl Friedrich Gauss
Disquisitiones Arithmeticae (1801), Article 329
Science quotes on:  |  Ancient (191)  |  Arithmetic (139)  |  Dignity (42)  |  Elegant (36)  |  Extent (139)  |  Industry (137)  |  Known (454)  |  Mean (809)  |  Means (580)  |  Modern (385)  |  Most (1729)  |  Number (701)  |  Possible (554)  |  Prime Number (5)  |  Problem (679)  |  Require (219)  |  Science (3880)  |  Solution (269)  |  Superfluous (21)  |  Useful (250)  |  Wisdom (221)

To what heights would science now be raised if Archimedes had made that discovery [of decimal number notation]!
— Carl Friedrich Gauss
As quoted, without citation, in Eric Temple Bell, Men of Mathematics (1937), 256.
Science quotes on:  |  Archimedes (58)  |  Decimal (20)  |  Discovery (785)  |  Notation (27)  |  Number (701)  |  Science (3880)

We must admit with humility that, while number is purely a product of our minds, space has a reality outside our minds, so that we cannot completely prescribe its properties a priori.
— Carl Friedrich Gauss
Letter to Friedrich Bessel (1830).
Science quotes on:  |  A Priori (26)  |  Completely (135)  |  Humility (28)  |  Mind (1339)  |  Must (1526)  |  Number (701)  |  Outside (141)  |  Product (160)  |  Purely (110)  |  Reality (262)  |  Space (501)


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
Quotations by: • Albert Einstein • Isaac Newton • Lord Kelvin • Charles Darwin • Srinivasa Ramanujan • Carl Sagan • Florence Nightingale • Thomas Edison • Aristotle • Marie Curie • Benjamin Franklin • Winston Churchill • Galileo Galilei • Sigmund Freud • Robert Bunsen • Louis Pasteur • Theodore Roosevelt • Abraham Lincoln • Ronald Reagan • Leonardo DaVinci • Michio Kaku • Karl Popper • Johann Goethe • Robert Oppenheimer • Charles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about: • Atomic  Bomb • Biology • Chemistry • Deforestation • Engineering • Anatomy • Astronomy • Bacteria • Biochemistry • Botany • Conservation • Dinosaur • Environment • Fractal • Genetics • Geology • History of Science • Invention • Jupiter • Knowledge • Love • Mathematics • Measurement • Medicine • Natural Resource • Organic Chemistry • Physics • Physician • Quantum Theory • Research • Science and Art • Teacher • Technology • Universe • Volcano • Virus • Wind Power • Women Scientists • X-Rays • Youth • Zoology  ... (more topics)
Sitewide search within all Today In Science History pages:
Visit our Science and Scientist Quotations index for more Science Quotes from archaeologists, biologists, chemists, geologists, inventors and inventions, mathematicians, physicists, pioneers in medicine, science events and technology.

Names index: | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

Categories index: | 1 | 2 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |
- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Euclid
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Bible
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
Avicenna
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
Archimedes
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Hippocrates
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
Aristotle
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton


by Ian Ellis
who invites your feedback
Thank you for sharing.
Today in Science History
Sign up for Newsletter
with quiz, quotes and more.