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

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.

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

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.

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

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 only once is a trick. If one can use it more than once it becomes a method.

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.

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.

Beauty in mathematics is seeing the truth without effort.

The result of the mathematician's creative work is demonstrative reasoning, a proof; but the proof is discovered by plausible reasoning, by guessing.

Quite often, when an idea that could be helpful presents itself, we do not appreciate it, for it is so inconspicuous. The expert has, perhaps, no more ideas than the inexperienced, but appreciates more what he has and uses it better.

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.'

Mathematics is not a spectator sport!

The future mathematician ... should solve problems, choose the problems which are in his line, meditate upon their solution, and invent new problems. By this means, and by all other means, he should endeavor to make his first important discovery: he should discover his likes and dislikes, his taste, his own line.

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

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.

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

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.

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

A mathematics teacher is a midwife to ideas.

There was a seminar for advanced students in Zürich that I was teaching and von Neumann was in the class. I came to a certain theorem, and I said it is not proved and it may be difficult. Von Neumann didn't say anything but after five minutes he raised his hand. When I called on him he went to the blackboard and proceeded to write down the proof. After that I was afraid of von Neumann.

If you cannot solve the proposed problem try to solve first some related problem.

You should not put too much trust in any unproved conjecture, even if it has been propounded by a great authority, even if it has been propounded by yourself. You should try to prove it or disprove it.

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