(source) 
David Hilbert
(23 Jan 1862  14 Feb 1943)

(On Cantors set theory:) The finest product of mathematical genius and one of the supreme achievements of purely intellectual human activity.
— David Hilbert
Meine Herren, der Senat ist doch keine Badeanstalt.
The faculty is not a pool changing room.
Indignant reply to the blatent sex discrimination expressed in a colleague's opposition when Hilbert proposed appointing Emmy Noether as the first woman professor at their university.
The faculty is not a pool changing room.
Indignant reply to the blatent sex discrimination expressed in a colleague's opposition when Hilbert proposed appointing Emmy Noether as the first woman professor at their university.
— David Hilbert
Wir mussen wissen. Wir werden wissen.
We must know. We will know.
Inscribed on his tomb in Gilttingen.
We must know. We will know.
Inscribed on his tomb in Gilttingen.
— David Hilbert
A mathematical theory is not to be considered complete until you have made it so clear that you can explain it to the first man whom you meet on the street.
— David Hilbert
Before beginning I should put in three years of intensive study, and I havent that much time to squander on a probable failure.
— David Hilbert
Besides it is an error to believe that rigour is the enemy of simplicity. On the contrary we find it confirmed by numerous examples that the rigorous method is at the same time the simpler and the more easily comprehended. The very effort for rigor forces us to find out simpler methods of proof.
— David Hilbert
Every mathematical discipline goes through three periods of development: the naive, the formal, and the critical.
— David Hilbert
From time immemorial, the infinite has stirred men's emotions more than any other question. Hardly any other idea has stimulated the mind so fruitfully. Yet, no other concept needs clarification more than it does.
— David Hilbert
Galileo was no idiot. Only an idiot could believe that science requires martyrdomthat may be necessary in religion, but in time a scientific result will establish itself.
— David Hilbert
Geometry is the most complete science.
— David Hilbert
He who seeks for methods without having a definite problem in mind seeks for the most part in vain.
— David Hilbert
How thoroughly it is ingrained in mathematical science that every real advance goes hand in hand with the invention of sharper tools and simpler methods which, at the same time, assist in understanding earlier theories and in casting aside some more complicated developments.
— David Hilbert
I have tried to avoid long numerical computations, thereby following Riemanns postulate that proofs should be given through ideas and not voluminous computations.
— David Hilbert
If I were to awaken after having slept for a thousand years, my first question would be: Has the Riemann hypothesis been proven?
— David Hilbert
If one were to bring ten of the wisest men in the world together and ask them what was the most stupid thing in existence, they would not be able to discover anything so stupid as astrology.
— David Hilbert
In mathematics ... we find two tendencies present. On the one hand, the tendency towards abstraction seeks to crystallise the logical relations inherent in the maze of materials ... being studied, and to correlate the material in a systematic and orderly
— David Hilbert
Mathematical science is in my opinion an indivisible whole, an organism whose vitality is conditioned upon the connection of its parts.
— David Hilbert
Mathematics is a game played according to certain simple rules with meaningless marks on paper.
— David Hilbert
Mathematics is that peculiar science in which the importance of a work can be measured by the number of earlier publications rendered superfluous by it.
— David Hilbert
Mathematics knows no races or geographic boundaries; for mathematics, the cultural world is one country.
— David Hilbert
Meine Herren, I do not see that the sex of the candidate is an argument against her admission as a Privatdozent. After all, the Senate is not a bathhouse.
Objecting to sex discrimination being the reason for rejection of Emmy Noether's application to join the faculty at the University of Gottingen.
Objecting to sex discrimination being the reason for rejection of Emmy Noether's application to join the faculty at the University of Gottingen.
— David Hilbert
No one shall expel us from the paradise which Cantor has created for us.
Expressing the importance of Cantor's set theory in the development of mathematics.
Expressing the importance of Cantor's set theory in the development of mathematics.
— David Hilbert
One hears a lot of talk about the hostility between scientists and engineers. I don't believe in any such thing. In fact I am quite certain it is untrue... There cannot possibly be anything in it because neither side has anything to do with the other.
— David Hilbert
Physics is becoming too difficult for the physicists.
— David Hilbert
The art of doing mathematics consists in finding that special case which contains all the germs of generality.
— David Hilbert
The art of doing mathematics consists in finding that special case which contains all the germs of generality.
— David Hilbert
The art of doing mathematics consists in finding that special case which contains all the germs of generality.
— David Hilbert
The farther a mathematical theory is developed, the more harmoniously and uniformly does its construction proceed, and unsuspected relations are disclosed between hitherto separated branches of the science.
— David Hilbert
The infinite! No other question has ever moved so profoundly the spirit of man; no other idea has so fruitfully stimulated his intellect; yet no other concept stands in greater need of clarification than that of the infinite.
— David Hilbert
The most suggestive and notable achievement of the last century is the discovery of NonEuclidean geometry.
— David Hilbert
Who of us would not be glad to lift the veil behind which the future lies hidden; to cast a glance at the next advances of our science and at the secrets of its development during future centuries? What particular goals will there be toward which the lead
— David Hilbert
Quotes by others about David Hilbert (4)
But in the present century, thanks in good part to the influence of Hilbert, we have come to see that the unproved postulates with which we start are purely arbitrary. They must be consistent, they had better lead to something interesting.
To the average mathematician who merely wants to know his work is securely based, the most appealing choice is to avoid difficulties by means of Hilbert's program. Here one regards mathematics as a formal game and one is only concerned with the question of consistency ... . The Realist position is probably the one which most mathematicians would prefer to take. It is not until he becomes aware of some of the difficulties in set theory that he would even begin to question it. If these difficulties particularly upset him, he will rush to the shelter of Formalism, while his normal position will be somewhere between the two, trying to enjoy the best of two worlds.
Plenty of mathematicians, Hardy knew, could follow a stepbystep discursus unflaggingly—yet counted for nothing beside Ramanujan. Years later, he would contrive an informal scale of natural mathematical ability on which he assigned himself a 25 and Littlewood a 30. To David Hilbert, the most eminent mathematician of the day, he assigned an 80. To Ramanujan he gave 100.
Das ist nicht Mathematik, das ist Theologie!
This is not mathematics; this is theology.
[Remark about David Hilbert's first proof of his finite basis theorem.]
This is not mathematics; this is theology.
[Remark about David Hilbert's first proof of his finite basis theorem.]
See also:
 23 Jan  short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Hilbert's birth.
 The Theory of Algebraic Number Fields, by David Hilbert, I.T. Adamson.  book suggestion.
 Booklist for David Hilbert.