Cambridge University Quotes (2 quotes)
During the three years which I spent at Cambridge my time was wasted, as far as the academical studies were concerned . I attempted mathematics, but I got on very slowly. The work was repugnant to me, chiefly from my not being able to see any meaning in the early steps in algebra. This impatience was very foolish
The prominent reason why a mathematician can be judged by none but mathematicians, is that he uses a peculiar language. The language of mathesis is special and untranslatable. In its simplest forms it can be translated, as, for instance, we say a right angle to mean a square corner. But you go a little higher in the science of mathematics, and it is impossible to dispense with a peculiar language. It would defy all the power of Mercury himself to explain to a person ignorant of the science what is meant by the single phrase functional exponent. How much more impossible, if we may say so, would it be to explain a whole treatise like Hamiltons Quaternions, in such a wise as to make it possible to judge of its value! But to one who has learned this language, it is the most precise and clear of all modes of expression. It discloses the thought exactly as conceived by the writer, with more or less beauty of form, but never with obscurity. It may be prolix, as it often is among French writers; may delight in mere verbal metamorphoses, as in the Cambridge University of England; or adopt the briefest and clearest forms, as under the pens of the geometers of our Cambridge; but it always reveals to us precisely the writers thought.