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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index W > Francis A. Walker Quotes

Francis A. Walker
(2 Jul 1840 - 5 Jan 1897)

American administrator, economist and statistician who was a president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Science Quotes by Francis A. Walker (2 quotes)

It is often assumed that because the young child is not competent to study geometry systematically he need be taught nothing geometrical; that because it would be foolish to present to him physics and mechanics as sciences it is useless to present to him any physical or mechanical principles.
An error of like origin, which has wrought incalculable mischief, denies to the scholar the use of the symbols and methods of algebra in connection with his early essays in numbers because, forsooth, he is not as yet capable of mastering quadratics! … The whole infant generation, wrestling with arithmetic, seek for a sign and groan and travail together in pain for the want of it; but no sign is given them save the sign of the prophet Jonah, the withered gourd, fruitless endeavor, wasted strength.
— Francis A. Walker
From presidential address (9 Sep 1884) to the General Meeting of the American Social Science Association, 'Industrial Education', printed in Journal of Social Science (1885), 19, 121. Collected in Francis Amasa Walker, Discussions in Education (1899), 132.
Science quotes on:  |  Algebra (114)  |  Arithmetic (139)  |  Assume (39)  |  Capable (168)  |  Child (309)  |  Competent (20)  |  Connection (162)  |  Deny (67)  |  Early (186)  |  Endeavor (67)  |  Error (321)  |  Essay (27)  |  Foolish (40)  |  Fruitless (8)  |  Generation (242)  |  Geometry (259)  |  Groan (5)  |  Infant (26)  |  Mastering (11)  |  Mechanic (119)  |  Mechanical (140)  |  Mechanics (132)  |  Method (506)  |  Methods (204)  |  Mischief (13)  |  Nothing (969)  |  Number (701)  |  Origin (241)  |  Pain (136)  |  Physic (516)  |  Physical (508)  |  Physics (533)  |  Present (620)  |  Principle (510)  |  Prophet (21)  |  Quadratic (3)  |  Save (118)  |  Scholar (50)  |  Science (3880)  |  Seek (213)  |  Sign (58)  |  Strength (126)  |  Study (656)  |  Symbol (94)  |  Teaching of Mathematics (39)  |  Together (387)  |  Travail (5)  |  Use (766)  |  Want (497)  |  Waste (101)  |  Whole (738)  |  Wrestle (2)  |  Young (228)

The greatest enemy, however, to true arithmetic work is found in so-called practical or illustrative problems, which are freely given to our pupils, of a degree of difficulty and complexity altogether unsuited to their age and mental development. … I am, myself, no bad mathematician, and all the reasoning powers with which nature endowed me have long been as fully developed as they are ever likely to be; but I have, not infrequently, been puzzled, and at times foiled, by the subtle logical difficulty running through one of these problems, given to my own children. The head-master of one of our Boston high schools confessed to me that he had sometimes been unable to unravel one of these tangled skeins, in trying to help his own daughter through her evening’s work. During this summer, Dr. Fairbairn, the distinguished head of one of the colleges of Oxford, England, told me that not only had he himself encountered a similar difficulty, in the case of his own children, but that, on one occasion, having as his guest one of the first mathematicians of England, the two together had been completely puzzled by one of these arithmetical conundrums.
— Francis A. Walker
Address before the Grammar-School Section of the Massachusetts Teachers’ Association (25 Nov 1887), 'The Teaching of Arithmetic in the Boston Schools', printed The Academy (Jan 1888). Collected in Francis Amasa Walker, Discussions in Education (1899), 253.
Science quotes on:  |  Age (499)  |  All (4107)  |  Arithmetic (139)  |  Bad (180)  |  Boston (7)  |  Call (769)  |  Children (200)  |  College (68)  |  Completely (135)  |  Complexity (111)  |  Confess (42)  |  Conundrum (3)  |  Daughter (30)  |  Degree (275)  |  Develop (268)  |  Development (424)  |  Difficulty (198)  |  Distinguish (160)  |  Distinguished (83)  |  Endowed (52)  |  Enemy (82)  |  First (1284)  |  Greatest (329)  |  High (363)  |  Himself (461)  |  Long (789)  |  Master (178)  |  Mental (177)  |  Myself (212)  |  Nature (1928)  |  Occasion (85)  |  Oxford (16)  |  Power (747)  |  Practical (200)  |  Problem (679)  |  Pupil (61)  |  Reasoning (207)  |  Running (61)  |  School (220)  |  So-Called (71)  |  Summer (54)  |  Teaching of Mathematics (39)  |  Through (849)  |  Time (1877)  |  Together (387)  |  True (214)  |  Trying (144)  |  Two (937)  |  Unravel (14)  |  Work (1351)


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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