Mathematics is the cheapest science. Unlike physics or chemistry, it does not require any expensive equipment. All one needs for mathematics is a pencil and paper.

A great discovery solves a great problem, but there is a grain of discovery in the solution of any problem. Your problem may be modest, but if it challenges your curiosity and brings into play your inventive faculties, and if you solve it by your own means, you may experience the tension and enjoy the triumph of discovery.

It is better to solve one problem five different ways, than to solve five problems one way.

Solving problems is a practical art, like swimming, or skiing, or playing the piano: you can learn it only by imitation and practice.

It may be more important in the mathematics class how you teach than what you teach.

Solving problems is a practical skill like, let us say, swimming. We acquire any practical skill by imitation and practice. Trying to swim, you imitate what other people do with their hands and feet to keep their heads above water, and, finally, you learn to swim by practicing swimming. Trying to solve problems, you have to observe and to imitate what other people do when solving problems, and, finally, you learn to do problems by doing them.

Even fairly good students, when they have obtained the solution of the problem and written down neatly the argument, shut their books and look for something else. Doing so, they miss an important and instructive phase of the work. ... A good teacher should understand and impress on his students the view that no problem whatever is completely exhausted.

If there is a problem you can't solve, then there is an easier problem you can't solve: find it.

An idea which can be used once is a trick. If it can be used more than once it becomes a method.

Mathematics is not a spectator sport!

In order to solve this differential equation you look at it until a solution occurs to you.

Beauty in mathematics is seeing the truth without effort.

Where should I start? Start from the statement of the problem. ... What can I do? Visualize the problem as a whole as clearly and as vividly as you can. ... What can I gain by doing so? You should understand the problem, familiarize yourself with it, impress its purpose on your mind.

The first and foremost duty of the high school in teaching mathematics is to emphasize methodical work in problem solving...The teacher who wishes to serve equally all his students, future users and nonusers of mathematics, should teach problem solving so that it is about one-third mathematics and two-thirds common sense.

Look around when you have got your first mushroom or made your first discovery: they grow in clusters.

John von Neumann was the only student I was ever afraid of.

Pedantry and mastery are opposite attitudes toward rules. To apply a rule to the letter, rigidly, unquestioningly, in cases where it fits and in cases where it does not fit, is pedantry. [...] To apply a rule with natural ease, with judgment, noticing the cases where it fits, and without ever letting the words of the rule obscure the purpose of the action or the opportunities of the situation, is mastery.

The elegance of a mathematical theorem is directly proportional to the number of independent ideas one can see in the theorem and inversely proportional to the effort it takes to see them.

Mathematics consists in proving the most obvious thing in the least obvious way.

Geometry is the science of correct reasoning on incorrect figures.

Hilbert once had a student in mathematics who stopped coming to his lectures, and he was finally told the young man had gone off to become a poet. Hilbert is reported to have remarked: 'I never thought he had enough imagination to be a mathematician.'

Epitaph on Newton: Nature and Nature's law lay hid in night: God said, "Let Newton be!," and all was light. [added by Sir John Collings Squire: It did not last: the Devil shouting "Ho. Let Einstein be," restored the status quo] [Aaron Hill's version: O'er Nature's laws God cast the veil of night, Out blaz'd a Newton's soul and all was light.

A mathematics teacher is a midwife to ideas.

My method to overcome a difficulty is to go round it.

The principle is so perfectly general that no particular application of it is possible.

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