Quotes by: Carl Friedrich Gauss
|Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss
Carl Friedrich Gauß (1777–1855), painted by Christian Albrecht Jensen
||Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss
30 April 1777
Brunswick, Duchy of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, Holy Roman Empire
||23 February 1855
Göttingen, Kingdom of Hanover
||Kingdom of Hanover
||Mathematics and physics
||University of Göttingen
||University of Helmstedt
||Demonstratio nova... (1799)
||Johann Friedrich Pfaff
|Other academic advisors
||Johann Christian Martin Bartels
Christian Ludwig Gerling
|Other notable students
Peter Gustav Lejeune Dirichlet
Carl Wolfgang Benjamin Goldschmidt
August Ferdinand Möbius
L. C. Schnürlein
||See full list
||Lalande Prize (1810)
Copley Medal (1838)
The problem of distinguishing prime numbers from composite numbers and of resolving the latter into their prime factors is known to be one of the most important and useful in arithmetic.
You know that I write slowly. This is chiefly because I am never satisfied until I have said as much as possible in a few words, and writing briefly takes far more time than writing at length.
The enchanting charms of this sublime science reveal only to those who have the courage to go deeply into it.
It is not knowledge, but the act of learning, not possession but the act of getting there, which grants the greatest enjoyment.
When I have clarified and exhausted a subject, then I turn away from it, in order to go into darkness again.
I have had my results for a long time: but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them.
We must admit with humility that, while number is purely a product of our minds, space has a reality outside our minds, so that we cannot completely prescribe its properties a priori.
I am coming more and more to the conviction that the necessity of our geometry cannot be demonstrated, at least neither by, nor for, the human intellect.
When a philosopher says something that is true then it is trivial. When he says something that is not trivial then it is false.
To praise it would amount to praising myself. For the entire content of the work... coincides almost exactly with my own meditations which have occupied my mind for the past thirty or thirty-five years.
I mean the word proof not in the sense of the lawyers, who set two half proofs equal to a whole one, but in the sense of a mathematician, where half proof = 0, and it is demanded for proof that every doubt becomes impossible.
Further, the dignity of the science itself seems to require that every possible means be explored for the solution of a problem so elegant and so celebrated.
It may be true, that men, who are mere mathematicians, have certain specific shortcomings, but that is not the fault of mathematics, for it is equally true of every other exclusive occupation.
Life stands before me like an eternal spring with new and brilliant clothes.
To such idle talk it might further be added: that whenever a certain exclusive occupation is coupled with specific shortcomings, it is likewise almost certainly divorced from certain other shortcomings.