Obsessive Quotes (3 quotes)
A sick man talks obsessively about his illness; a healthy man never talks about his health; for as Pirandello points out, we take happiness for granted, and only begin to question life when we are unhappy.
Immediately south of nitrogen is phosphorus, which was first isolated by the distillation and treatment of urine—an indication of the lengths to which chemists are prepared to go, or perhaps only a sign of the obsessive, scatological origins of their vocation.
There is no way to guarantee in advance what pure mathematics will later find application. We can only let the process of curiosity and abstraction take place, let mathematicians obsessively take results to their logical extremes, leaving relevance far behind, and wait to see which topics turn out to be extremely useful. If not, when the challenges of the future arrive, we won’t have the right piece of seemingly pointless mathematics to hand.