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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index U > Karen Uhlenbeck Quotes

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Karen Uhlenbeck
(24 Aug 1942 - )

American mathematician who was the first woman to receive the prestigious Abel Prize (2019). She is regarded as the founder of geometric analysis.


Science Quotes by Karen Uhlenbeck (6 quotes)

[An appealing problem is] a combination of being fairly concrete—so one can understand concretely examples—and also connecting with a lot of other ideas. For example, you see the analysis in a minimal surface equation, but then you also realize it has connections with other geometric questions that are not just analysis. I am definitely very attracted to the idea that there are a lot of different facets in mathematics and seeing the connections.
— Karen Uhlenbeck
From Allyn Jackson, 'Interview with Karen Uhlenbeck', part of Celebratio Mathematica on the celebratio.org website.
Science quotes on:  |  Analysis (244)  |  Attraction (61)  |  Biography (254)  |  Combination (150)  |  Concrete (55)  |  Connection (171)  |  Equation (138)  |  Facet (9)  |  Geometry (271)  |  Idea (881)  |  Mathematics (1395)  |  Problem (731)  |  Question (649)  |  Understanding (527)

As a child I read a lot, and I read everything. I’d go to the library and then stay up all night reading. I used to read under the desk in school … I read all of the books on science in the library and was frustrated when there was nothing left to read.
— Karen Uhlenbeck
In 'A Personal Profile of Karen K. Uhlenbeck', collected in Susan Ambrose et al., Journeys of Women in Science and Engineering, No Universal Constants (1999).
Science quotes on:  |  Biography (254)  |  Child (333)  |  Frustration (14)  |  Library (53)  |  Nothing (1000)  |  Reading (136)

I did some very technical work in partial differential equations, made an unsuccessful pass at shock waves, worked in scale invariant variational problems, made a poor stab at three manifold topology, learned gauge field theory and then some about applications to four manifolds, and have recently been working in equations with algebraic infinite symmetries. I find that I am bored with anything I understand. My excuse is that I am too poor an expositor to want to spend time on formal matters.
— Karen Uhlenbeck
In 'A Personal Profile of Karen K. Uhlenbeck', collected in Susan Ambrose et al., Journeys of Women in Science and Engineering, No Universal Constants (1999).
Science quotes on:  |  Biography (254)  |  Bored (5)  |  Infinity (96)  |  Partial Differential (2)  |  Problem (731)  |  Shock Wave (3)  |  Symmetry (44)  |  Topology (3)  |  Understanding (527)  |  Unsuccessful (4)

I had intended to major in physics … I could never seem to get the labs to come out right. So I switched to math and have been interested in it ever since.
— Karen Uhlenbeck
In 'A Personal Profile of Karen K. Uhlenbeck', collected in Susan Ambrose et al., Journeys of Women in Science and Engineering, No Universal Constants (1999). Uhlenbeck’s father was an engineer and her father-in-law was a famous physicist.
Science quotes on:  |  Biography (254)  |  Interest (416)  |  Laboratory (214)  |  Major (88)  |  Mathematics (1395)  |  Physics (564)

One doesn’t really understand what mathematics is until at least halfway through college when one takes abstract math courses and learns about proofs.
— Karen Uhlenbeck
In 'A Personal Profile of Karen K. Uhlenbeck', collected in Susan Ambrose et al., Journeys of Women in Science and Engineering, No Universal Constants (1999).
Science quotes on:  |  Abstract (141)  |  Abstract Mathematics (9)  |  College (71)  |  Course (413)  |  Learning (291)  |  Mathematics (1395)  |  Proof (304)  |  Understanding (527)

One of the attractions of mathematics … that had a great impact on my choosing a career—I wanted a career where I didn’t have to work with other people … to work in an area where I compete only with myself and didn’t have to deal with the negative aspects of competition.
— Karen Uhlenbeck
In 'A Personal Profile of Karen K. Uhlenbeck', collected in Susan Ambrose et al., Journeys of Women in Science and Engineering, No Universal Constants (1999).
Science quotes on:  |  Attraction (61)  |  Biography (254)  |  Career (86)  |  Competition (45)  |  Mathematics (1395)  |  Negative (66)



Quotes by others about Karen Uhlenbeck (1)

[Karen] Uhlenbeck’s research has led to revolutionary advances at the intersection of mathematics and physics. Her pioneering insights have applications across a range of fascinating subjects, from string theory, which may help explain the nature of reality, to the geometry of space-time.
In news release, 'Mathematics’ Highest Prize Awarded to UT Austin’s Karen Uhlenbeck', UT News (19 Mar 2019) on website of University of Texas at Austin.
Science quotes on:  |  Geometry (271)  |  Mathematics (1395)  |  Physics (564)  |  Reality (274)  |  Research (753)  |  Space-Time (20)  |  String Theory (14)


See also:
  • 24 Aug - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Uhlenbeck'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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