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Who said: “Nature does nothing in vain when less will serve; for Nature is pleased with simplicity and affects not the pomp of superfluous causes.”
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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index S > Jean-Pierre Serre Quotes

Jean-Pierre Serre
(15 Sep 1926 - )

French mathematician.


Science Quotes by Jean-Pierre Serre (2 quotes)

As for the place of mathematics in relation to other sciences, mathematics can be seen as a big warehouse full of shelves. Mathematicians put things on the shelves and guarantee that they are true. They also explain how to use them and how to reconstruct them. Other sciences come and help themselves from the shelves; mathematicians are not concerned with what they do with what they have taken. This metaphor is rather coarse, but it reflects the situation well enough.
— Jean-Pierre Serre
From interview with Marc Kirch, 'My First Fifty years at the Collège de France', collected in Helge Holden and Ragni Piene, The Abel Prize: 2003-2007 The First Five Years (2009), 15-29.
Science quotes on:  |  Coarse (4)  |  Concern (228)  |  Do (1908)  |  Enough (340)  |  Explain (322)  |  Guarantee (30)  |  Help (105)  |  Mathematician (387)  |  Mathematics (1328)  |  Metaphor (33)  |  Other (2236)  |  Reconstruct (5)  |  Reflect (32)  |  Relation (157)  |  Science (3879)  |  Shelf (8)  |  Situation (113)  |  Themselves (433)  |  Thing (1915)  |  True (212)  |  Use (766)

One should first discourage people from doing mathematics; there is no need for too many mathematicians. But, if after that, they still insist on doing mathematics, then one should indeed encourage them, and help them.
— Jean-Pierre Serre
Reply to question, “How could we encourage young people to take up mathematics, especially in the schools?” C.T. Chong and Y.K. Leong, 'An Interview With Jean-Pierre Serre', Singapore Mathematical Society Mathematical Medley (1985), 13, No. 1, 11-19.
Science quotes on:  |  Discourage (13)  |  Doing (280)  |  Encourage (40)  |  First (1283)  |  Help (105)  |  Indeed (324)  |  Insist (20)  |  Mathematics (1328)  |  Need (290)  |  People (1005)  |  Still (613)  |  Teaching (188)


See also:
  • 15 Sep - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Serre'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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