Math Quotes V: A Man Is Like a Fraction…

[Rescued from my old blog.]

The blackboard quotes for my math class have been a bit more philosophical the last few weeks:

A good problem should be more than a mere exercise; it should be challenging and not too easily solved by the student, and it should require some “dreaming” time.

—Howard Eves
An Introduction to the History of Mathematics

A man is like a fraction whose numerator is what he is and whose denominator is what he thinks of himself. The larger the denominator, the smaller the fraction.

—Leo Tolstoy

If you would make a man happy, do not add to his possessions but subtract from the sum of his desires.

—Seneca

But tomorrow’s quote on probability is just plain fun:

We’ve all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.

—Robert Silensky


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7 comments on “Math Quotes V: A Man Is Like a Fraction…

  1. Delightful is the word by R.Silensky.
    I have one in french, can I?

    “D’après Euclide, le carré est un quadrilatère dont les quatre angles sont droits et les quatre côtés égaux. D’après Sophicléïde, le carré est un triangle qui a réussi ou une circonférence qui a mal tourné.” —Pierre Dac

  2. I like that!

    Of course, I needed Babelfish to translate it, since I haven’t studied French since high school. I don’t even want to think about how long ago that was.

  3. I looove math quotes. How about:

    “There is no subject so old that something new cannot be said about it.” − Fyodor Dostoevsky

    or

    “To Thales the primary question was not what do we know, but how do we know it.” – Aristotle

    or more lightly

    “The creator of the universe works in mysterious ways. But he uses a base ten counting system and likes round numbers.” – Scott Adams

  4. Actually the monkeys on typewriter case is an exercise with the very point that even a million monkeys typing out scripts constantly for the entire lifetime of the universe will NOT reproduce hamlet.
    It is often taken as an example of how humans define impossible not as something witch has probability zero, but simply as something which has a sufficiently low probability, where sufficient is subjective to the case at hand.

    The case where where they definitely will reproduce Shakespeare is if we have an infinite number of monkeys, but of cause this is just a though concept, not applicable to real life.

    To note more precisely the scale, it took 2,737,850 million billion billion billion monkey-years to reproduce the 24 first characters of Henry IV, Part 2.
    The age of the universe is about 14 billion years, so that’s 200,000 million billion billion monkeys typing for the entire lifetime of the universe, to reproduce the first 24 characters.

    The numbers taken from the wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_monkey_theorem

  5. Man should gradually grow in life in the following manner

    “Monetarily he should grow linearly ,

    Career wise he should grow exponentially ,

    In Personal life he should grow logistically ”

    K.V.S.Prakash

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