Sunday, October 22, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

George Polya (1887 – 1985)


Hungarian mathematician and professor of mathematics at ETH Zürich and at Stanford University.
Page 1 of 1
George Polya
For mathematics education and the world of problem solving it marked a line of demarcation between two eras, problem solving before and after Polya.
Polya quotes
Analogy pervades all our thinking, our everyday speech and our trivial conclusions as well as artistic ways of expression and the highest scientific achievements.
Polya
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.




Polya George quotes
To write and speak correctly is certainly necessary; but it is not sufficient. A derivation correctly presented in the book or on the blackboard may be inaccessible and uninstructive, if the purpose of the successive steps is incomprehensible, if the reader or listener cannot understand how it was humanly possible to find such an argument....
Polya George
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.
George Polya quotes
We need heuristic reasoning when we construct a strict proof as we need scaffolding when we erect a building.
George Polya
The best of ideas is hurt by uncritical acceptance and thrives on critical examination.
Polya George quotes
The cookbook gives a detailed description of ingredients and procedures but no proofs for its prescriptions or reasons for its recipes; the proof of the pudding is in the eating. ... Mathematics cannot be tested in exactly the same manner as a pudding; if all sorts of reasoning are debarred, a course of calculus may easily become an incoherent inventory of indigestible information.
Polya
Euclid's manner of exposition, progressing relentlessly from the data to the unknown and from the hypothesis to the conclusion, is perfect for checking the argument in detail but far from being perfect for making understandable the main line of the argument.
Page 1 of 1


© 2009–2013Quotes Privacy Policy | Contact