
Truman Henry Safford
(6 Jan 1836  13 Jun 1901)
American astronomer and mathematician who was a prodigy capable of remarkable mental calculations from the age of six. At the age of fourteen, calculated the elliptic elements of the first comet of 1849, and was widely known as the boycalculator. He was graduated at Harvard in 1854 (aged 18), after which he stayed there for some years at the observatory, and from 1865 he was professor of astronomy at the University of Chicago.

Science Quotes by Truman Henry Safford (3 quotes)
Arithmetic, as we shall see by and by, is overdone, in a certain sense, in our schools; just so far as the teaching is based upon the concrete, so far is it profitable; but when the bookmakers begin to make it too abstract, as they very often do, it becomes a torture to both teacher and learners, or, at best, a branch of imaginary knowledge unconnected with real life.
— Truman Henry Safford
From 'Introduction', Mathematical Teaching and its Modern Methods (1886), 10.
Poor teaching leads to the inevitable idea that the subject [mathematics] is only adapted to peculiar minds, when it is the one universal science and the one whose four groundrules are taught us almost in infancy and reappear in the motions of the universe.
— Truman Henry Safford
In Mathematical Teaching (1907), 19.
The modern, and to my mind true, theory is that mathematics is the abstract form of the natural sciences; and that it is valuable as a training of the reasoning powers not because it is abstract, but because it is a representation of actual things.
— Truman Henry Safford
From 'Introduction', Mathematical Teaching and its Modern Methods (1886), 910.
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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