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Who said: “As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.”
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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index S > Ian Stewart Quotes

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Ian Stewart
(24 Sep 1945 - )

English mathematician and author who is a prolific author of books on mathematics, for the lay reader and others for academics or as textbooks. He writes the 'Mathematical Recreations' column in Scientific American.


Science Quotes by Ian Stewart (4 quotes)

By the 18th century science had been so successful in laying bare the laws of nature that many thought there was nothing left to discover. Immutable laws prescribed the motion of every particle in the universe, exactly and forever: the task of the scientist was to elucidate the implications of those laws for any particular phenomenon of interest. Chaos gave way to a clockwork world. But the world moved on ...Today even our clocks are not made of clockwork. ... With the advent of quantum mechanics, the clockwork world has become a lottery. Fundamental events, such as the decay of a radioactive atom, are held to be determined by chance, not law.
— Ian Stewart
Does God Play Dice?: The New Mathematics of Chaos (2002). xi.
Science quotes on:  |  18th Century (21)  |  Atom (358)  |  Bare (33)  |  Become (815)  |  Century (310)  |  Chance (239)  |  Chaos (91)  |  Clock (47)  |  Decay (53)  |  Discover (553)  |  Event (216)  |  Forever (103)  |  Fundamental (251)  |  Immutable (22)  |  Interest (386)  |  Law (895)  |  Mechanic (119)  |  Mechanics (132)  |  Motion (312)  |  Nature (1928)  |  Nothing (969)  |  Particle (196)  |  Phenomenon (319)  |  Predictability (7)  |  Quantum (117)  |  Quantum Mechanics (47)  |  Radioactive (22)  |  Science (3880)  |  Scientist (825)  |  Successful (123)  |  Task (147)  |  Thought (954)  |  Today (314)  |  Universe (861)  |  Way (1216)  |  World (1778)

The successes of the differential equation paradigm were impressive and extensive. Many problems, including basic and important ones, led to equations that could be solved. A process of self-selection set in, whereby equations that could not be solved were automatically of less interest than those that could.
— Ian Stewart
In Does God Play Dice? The Mathematics of Chaos (1989, 1997), 33.
Science quotes on:  |  Automatic (16)  |  Basic (139)  |  Differential Equation (18)  |  Equation (132)  |  Extensive (33)  |  Important (210)  |  Impressive (26)  |  Interest (386)  |  Less (103)  |  Paradigm (14)  |  Problem (679)  |  Process (423)  |  Selection (128)  |  Self (267)  |  Set (394)  |  Solve (130)  |  Success (303)

Today even our clocks are not made of clockwork.
— Ian Stewart
Does God Play Dice?: The New Mathematics of Chaos (2002), xi.
Science quotes on:  |  Clock (47)  |  Clockwork (7)  |  Making (300)  |  Today (314)

What is mathematics? What is it for? What are mathematicians doing nowadays? Wasn't it all finished long ago? How many new numbers can you invent anyway? Is today’s mathematics just a matter of huge calculations, with the mathematician as a kind of zookeeper, making sure the precious computers are fed and watered? If it’s not, what is it other than the incomprehensible outpourings of superpowered brainboxes with their heads in the clouds and their feet dangling from the lofty balconies of their ivory towers?
Mathematics is all of these, and none. Mostly, it’s just different. It’s not what you expect it to be, you turn your back for a moment and it's changed. It's certainly not just a fixed body of knowledge, its growth is not confined to inventing new numbers, and its hidden tendrils pervade every aspect of modern life.
— Ian Stewart
Opening paragraphs of 'Preface', From Here to Infinity (1996), vii.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Aspect (124)  |  Back (391)  |  Balcony (2)  |  Body (537)  |  Calculation (128)  |  Certainly (185)  |  Change (595)  |  Cloud (104)  |  Computer (127)  |  Confine (26)  |  Dangle (2)  |  Different (577)  |  Doing (280)  |  Expect (201)  |  Finish (59)  |  Finished (4)  |  Fixed (17)  |  Foot (60)  |  Growth (188)  |  Head (81)  |  Hidden (42)  |  Huge (25)  |  Incomprehensible (29)  |  Invent (51)  |  Ivory Tower (5)  |  Kind (557)  |  Knowledge (1536)  |  Life (1799)  |  Lofty (13)  |  Long (789)  |  Long Ago (10)  |  Making (300)  |  Mathematician (389)  |  Mathematics (1333)  |  Matter (801)  |  Modern (385)  |  Modern Life (3)  |  Moment (254)  |  New (1217)  |  Nowadays (6)  |  Number (701)  |  Other (2236)  |  Pervade (10)  |  Precious (42)  |  Today (314)  |  Tower (42)  |  Turn (447)  |  Water (482)  |  Zookeeper (2)


See also:

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
Quotations by: • Albert Einstein • Isaac Newton • Lord Kelvin • Charles Darwin • Srinivasa Ramanujan • Carl Sagan • Florence Nightingale • Thomas Edison • Aristotle • Marie Curie • Benjamin Franklin • Winston Churchill • Galileo Galilei • Sigmund Freud • Robert Bunsen • Louis Pasteur • Theodore Roosevelt • Abraham Lincoln • Ronald Reagan • Leonardo DaVinci • Michio Kaku • Karl Popper • Johann Goethe • Robert Oppenheimer • Charles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about: • Atomic  Bomb • Biology • Chemistry • Deforestation • Engineering • Anatomy • Astronomy • Bacteria • Biochemistry • Botany • Conservation • Dinosaur • Environment • Fractal • Genetics • Geology • History of Science • Invention • Jupiter • Knowledge • Love • Mathematics • Measurement • Medicine • Natural Resource • Organic Chemistry • Physics • Physician • Quantum Theory • Research • Science and Art • Teacher • Technology • Universe • Volcano • Virus • Wind Power • Women Scientists • X-Rays • Youth • Zoology  ... (more topics)
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- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Euclid
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Bible
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
Avicenna
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
Archimedes
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Hippocrates
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
Aristotle
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton



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