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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 W > Hermann Weyl Quotes

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Hermann Weyl
(9 Nov 1885 - 8 Dec 1955)

German-American mathematician who made contributions to differential geometry, the theory of continuous groups, differential equations, relativity, quantum mechanics and the philosophy of mathematics.

Science Quotes by Hermann Weyl (5 quotes)

Before you generalize, formalize, and axiomatize there must be mathematical substance.
— Hermann Weyl
In Eberhard Zeidler, Applied Functional Analysis: main principles and their applications (1995), 282.
Science quotes on:  |  Axiom (26)  |  Generalize (9)  |  Mathematics (587)  |  Substance (73)

In geometric and physical applications, it always turns out that a quantity is characterized not only by its tensor order, but also by symmetry.
— Hermann Weyl
Epigraph in Charles W. Misner, Kip S. Thorn and John Archibald Wheeler, Gravitation (1970, 1973), 47. Cited as (1925), with no source.
Science quotes on:  |  Application (117)  |  Characterized (2)  |  Geometry (99)  |  Order (167)  |  Physics (301)  |  Quantity (35)  |  Symmetry (26)  |  Tensor (3)

My work always tried to unite the true with the beautiful, but when I had to choose one or the other, I usually chose the beautiful.
— Hermann Weyl
As quoted by Freeman Dyson in Obituary for Hermann Weyl in Nature (10 Mar 1956). In James Roy Newman, The World of Mathematics (2000), Vol. 3, 1831.
Science quotes on:  |  Beauty (171)  |  Choice (64)  |  Creativity (66)  |  Truth (750)  |  Unite (13)

Symmetry, as wide or as narrow as you may define its meaning, is one idea by which man through the ages has tried to comprehend and create order, beauty and perfection.
— Hermann Weyl
Symmetry (1952), 5.
Science quotes on:  |  Beauty (171)  |  Symmetry (26)

The Greeks made Space the subject-matter of a science of supreme simplicity and certainty. Out of it grew, in the mind of classical antiquity, the idea of pure science. Geometry became one of the most powerful expressions of that sovereignty of the intellect that inspired the thought of those times. At a later epoch, when the intellectual despotism of the Church, which had been maintained through the Middle Ages, had crumbled, and a wave of scepticism threatened to sweep away all that had seemed most fixed, those who believed in Truth clung to Geometry as to a rock, and it was the highest ideal of every scientist to carry on his science 'more geometrico.'
— Hermann Weyl
In Space,Time, Matter, translated by Henry Leopold Brose (1952), 1
Science quotes on:  |  Antiquity (12)  |  Belief (400)  |  Certainty (97)  |  Church (30)  |  Cling (4)  |  Crumble (2)  |  Epoch (12)  |  Expression (82)  |  Fixed (11)  |  Geometry (99)  |  Greek (46)  |  Grow (66)  |  Ideal (52)  |  Intellect (157)  |  Later (11)  |  Maintain (22)  |  Middle Ages (7)  |  Powerful (51)  |  Pure Science (18)  |  Rock (107)  |  Science (1699)  |  Seem (89)  |  Simplicity (126)  |  Skepticism (18)  |  Sovereignty (6)  |  Space (154)  |  Subject (129)  |  Supreme (24)  |  Sweep (11)  |  Thinking (222)  |  Threaten (6)  |  Truth (750)  |  Wave (55)

See also:
  • 9 Nov - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Weyl'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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