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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index H > George B. Halsted Quotes

George B. Halsted
(25 Nov 1853 - 16 Mar 1922)

American mathematician who was an eccentric but creative university teacher, and became distinguished as an internationally-known scholar. His own field was the foundations of geometry. Halsted was a promoter and popularizer of mathematics, wrote a number of mathematics textbooks, and was critical of other slipshod presentations in the mathematical textbooks of his day. He translated and published commentaries on the works of Lobachevski, János Bolyai, Saccheri, and Poincaré.

Science Quotes by George B. Halsted (7 quotes)

A short, broad man of tremendous vitality, the physical type of Hereward, the last of the English, and his brother-in-arms, Winter, Sylvester’s capacious head was ever lost in the highest cloud-lands of pure mathematics. Often in the dead of night he would get his favorite pupil, that he might communicate the very last product of his creative thought. Everything he saw suggested to him something new in the higher algebra. This transmutation of everything into new mathematics was a revelation to those who knew him intimately. They began to do it themselves. His ease and fertility of invention proved a constant encouragement, while his contempt for provincial stupidities, such as the American hieroglyphics for π and e, which have even found their way into Webster’s Dictionary, made each young worker apply to himself the strictest tests.
— George B. Halsted
In Florian Cajori, Teaching and History of Mathematics in the United States (1890), 265.
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Bolyai [Janos] projected a universal language for speech as we have it for music and mathematics.
— George B. Halsted
In János Bolyai, Science Absolute of Space, translated from the Latin by George Bruce Halsted (1896), Translator's Introduction, xxix.
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Mathematics, that giant pincers of scientific logic…
— George B. Halsted
From Address to the Ohio Academy of Science, 'Biology and Mathematics', printed in Science (11 Aug 1905), New Series 22, No. 554, 162.
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The profound mathematical ability of Bolyai János showed itself physically not only in his handling of the violin, where he was a master, but also of arms, where he was unapproachable.
— George B. Halsted
In János Bolyai, Science Absolute of Space, translated from the Latin by George Bruce Halsted (1896), Translator's Introduction, xxix. [Bolyai was the victor in many duels. —Webmaster]
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To know him [Sylvester] was to know one of the historic figures of all time, one of the immortals; and when he was really moved to speak, his eloquence equalled his genius.
— George B. Halsted
In Florian Cajori, Teaching and History of Mathematics in the United States (1890), 265. [Halsted was J.J. Sylvester’s first student at Johns Hopkins University.]
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[Bolyai’s Science Absolute of Space is] the most extraordinary two dozen pages in the history of thought!
— George B. Halsted
In János Bolyai, Science Absolute of Space, translated from the Latin by George Bruce Halsted (1896), Translator's Introduction, xviii.
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[Janos] Bolyai when in garrison with cavalry officers, was provoked by thirteen of them and accepted all their challenges on condition that he be permitted after each duel to play a bit on his violin. He came out victor from his thirteen duels, leaving his thirteen adversaries on the square.
— George B. Halsted
In János Bolyai, Science Absolute of Space, translated from the Latin by George Bruce Halsted (1896), Translator's Introduction, xxix.
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Quotes by others about George B. Halsted (1)

Professor Sylvester’s first high class at the new university Johns Hopkins consisted of only one student, G. B. Halsted, who had persisted in urging Sylvester to lecture on the modem algebra. The attempt to lecture on this subject led him into new investigations in quantics.
In Teaching and History of Mathematics in the United States (1890), 264.
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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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