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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index H > Charles Hermite Quotes

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Charles Hermite
(24 Dec 1822 - 14 Jan 1901)

French mathematician.


Science Quotes by Charles Hermite (6 quotes)

Abel has left mathematicians enough to keep them busy for 500 years.
— Charles Hermite
As quoted, without citation, in Eric Temple Bell, The Queen of the Sciences (1931), 10.
Science quotes on:  |  Busy (28)  |  Enough (340)  |  Leave (130)  |  Legacy (14)  |  Mathematician (387)  |  Year (933)

Abel has left mathematicians something to keep them busy for five hundred years.
— Charles Hermite
As quoted by Eric Temple Bell in The Queen of the Sciences (1931, 1938), 10.
Science quotes on:  |  Niels Henrik Abel (15)  |  Busy (28)  |  Hundred (229)  |  Mathematician (387)  |  Something (719)  |  Year (933)

I cannot tell you the efforts to which I was condemned to understand something of the diagrams of Descriptive Geometry, which I detest.
— Charles Hermite
Epigraph, without citation, in E.T. Bell, Men of Mathematics (1937, 1965), 181.
Science quotes on:  |  Condemn (44)  |  Condemned (5)  |  Descriptive (17)  |  Descriptive Geometry (3)  |  Detest (5)  |  Diagram (20)  |  Effort (227)  |  Geometry (255)  |  Something (719)  |  Tell (340)  |  Understand (606)

The mathematical talent of Cayley was characterized by clearness and extreme elegance of analytical form; it was re-enforced by an incomparable capacity for work which has caused the distinguished scholar to be compared with Cauchy.
— Charles Hermite
In Comptes Rendus (1895), 120, 234.
Science quotes on:  |  Analysis (233)  |  Capacity (100)  |  Baron Augustin-Louis Cauchy (10)  |  Cause (541)  |  Arthur Cayley (17)  |  Characterize (20)  |  Clearness (11)  |  Compare (69)  |  Distinguish (160)  |  Distinguished (83)  |  Elegance (37)  |  Extreme (75)  |  Form (959)  |  Incomparable (12)  |  Mathematicians and Anecdotes (141)  |  Mathematics (1328)  |  Scholar (48)  |  Talent (94)  |  Work (1351)

There exists, if I am not mistaken, an entire world which is the totality of mathematical truths, to which we have access only with our mind, just as a world of physical reality exists, the one like the other independent of ourselves, both of divine creation.
— Charles Hermite
As quoted, without citation, in the original French, “Il existe, si je ne me trompe, tout un monde qui est l'ensemble des vérités mathématiques, dans lequel nous n’avons accès que par l'intelligence, comme existe le monde des réalités physiques; l’un et l’autre indépendants de nous, tous deux de création divine,” in Gaston Darboux, 'La Vie et l’Oeuvre de Charles Hermite', La Revue du Mois (10 Jan 1906), 46. As translated in Armand Borel, 'On the Place of Mathematics in Culture', in Armand Borel: Œvres: Collected Papers (1983), Vol. 4, 428.
Science quotes on:  |  Access (20)  |  Both (493)  |  Creation (327)  |  Divine (112)  |  Exist (443)  |  Independent (67)  |  Mathematics (1328)  |  Mind (1338)  |  Other (2236)  |  Ourselves (245)  |  Physical (508)  |  Reality (261)  |  Total (94)  |  Totality (15)  |  Truth (1057)  |  World (1774)

We are servants rather than masters in mathematics.
— Charles Hermite
From the original French, “Nous sommes serviteurs plutôt que maîtres en mathématiques,” as quoted, without citation, in Jacques Hadamard, 'L’Œvre d'Henri Poincaré: Le Mathématician', Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale (Sep 1913), 21, No. 5, 618. As translated in Harold Chapman Brown, 'The Work of Henri Poincaré', The Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods (23 Apr 1914), 11, No. 9, 226.
Science quotes on:  |  Master (178)  |  Mathematics (1328)  |  Servant (39)



Quotes by others about Charles Hermite (4)

In his wretched life of less than twenty-seven years Abel accomplished so much of the highest order that one of the leading mathematicians of the Nineteenth Century (Hermite, 1822-1901) could say without exaggeration, “Abel has left mathematicians enough to keep them busy for five hundred years.” Asked how he had done all this in the six or seven years of his working life, Abel replied, “By studying the masters, not the pupils.”
The Queen of the Sciences (1931, 1938), 10.
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Men of science belong to two different types—the logical and the intuitive. Science owes its progress to both forms of minds. Mathematics, although a purely logical structure, nevertheless makes use of intuition. Among the mathematicians there are intuitives and logicians, analysts and geometricians. Hermite and Weierstrass were intuitives. Riemann and Bertrand, logicians. The discoveries of intuition have always to be developed by logic.
In Man the Unknown (1935), 123.
Science quotes on:  |  Analyst (8)  |  Belong (162)  |  Joseph Bertrand (6)  |  Both (493)  |  Develop (268)  |  Different (577)  |  Discovery (780)  |  Form (959)  |  Geometrician (6)  |  Intuition (75)  |  Intuitive (14)  |  Logic (287)  |  Logician (17)  |  Mathematician (387)  |  Mathematics (1328)  |  Men Of Science (143)  |  Mind (1338)  |  Nevertheless (90)  |  Owe (71)  |  Progress (465)  |  Pure (291)  |  Purely (109)  |  Bernhard Riemann (7)  |  Science (3879)  |  Structure (344)  |  Two (937)  |  Type (167)  |  Use (766)  |  Karl Weierstrass (9)

When one talked with M. Hermite, he never evoked a sensuous image, and yet you soon perceived that the most abstract entities were for him like living beings.
From La Valeur de la Science (1904), 32, as translated by George Bruce Halsted (trans.), in The Value of Science (1907), 24. From the French, “Quand on causait avec M. Hermite; jamais il n’évoquait une image sensible, et pourtant vous vous aperceviez bientôt que les entités les plus abstraites étaient, pour lui comme des êtres vivants.” Also as epigraph, “Talk with M. Hermite. He never evokes a concrete image, yet you soon perceive that the more abstract entities are to him like living creatures”, in Eric Temple Bell, Men of Mathematics, (1937), 448.
Science quotes on:  |  Abstract (124)  |  Being (1278)  |  Concrete (51)  |  Creature (233)  |  Entity (35)  |  Evoke (12)  |  Image (96)  |  Living (491)  |  Most (1731)  |  Never (1087)  |  Perceive (40)  |  Sensuous (5)  |  Soon (186)  |  Talk (100)

While speaking, M. Bertrand is always in motion; now he seems in combat with some outside enemy, now he outlines with a gesture of the hand the figures he studies. Plainly he sees and he is eager to paint, this is why he calls gesture to his aid. With M. Hermite, it is just the opposite; his eyes seem to shun contact with the world; it is not without, it is within he seeks the vision of truth.
From La Valeur de la Science (1904), 14, as translated by George Bruce Halsted (trans.), in The Value of Science (1907), 16. From the French, “Tout en parlant, M. Bertrand est toujours en action; tantôt il semble aux prises avec quelque ennemi extérieur, tantôt il dessine d'un geste de la main les figures qu’il étudie. Évidemment, il voit et il cherche à peindre, c’est pour cela qu’il appelle le geste à son secours. Pour M. Hermite, c’est tout le contraire; ses yeux semblent fuir le contact du monde; ce n’est pas au dehors, c’est au dedans qu’il cherche la vision de la vérité.”
Science quotes on:  |  Aid (97)  |  Joseph Bertrand (6)  |  Call (769)  |  Combat (15)  |  Contact (65)  |  Eager (15)  |  Enemy (82)  |  Eye (419)  |  Figure (160)  |  Gesture (4)  |  Hand (143)  |  Inside (26)  |  Motion (310)  |  Opposite (104)  |  Outline (11)  |  Outside (141)  |  Paint (22)  |  See (1081)  |  Seek (213)  |  Shun (4)  |  Speak (232)  |  Speaking (119)  |  Study (653)  |  Truth (1057)  |  Vision (123)  |  Why (491)  |  World (1774)


See also:
  • 24 Dec - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Hermite's birth.

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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