# Quotes About Euclid

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“I have given up newspapers in exchange for Tacitus and Thucydides, for Newton and Euclid; and I find myself much the happier.”

— Thomas Jefferson —

— Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

“Euclid taught me that without assumptions there is no proof. Therefore, in any argument, examine the assumptions.”

— E. T. Bell

“And so will I here state just plainly and briefly that I accept God. But I must point out one thing: if God does exist and really created the world, as we well know, he created it according to the principles of Euclidean geometry and made the human brain capable of grasping only three dimensions of space. Yet there have been and still are mathematicians and philosophers-among them some of the most outstanding-who doubt that the whole universe or, to put it more generally, all existence was created to fit Euclidean geometry; they even dare to conceive that two parallel lines that, according to Euclid, never do meet on earth do, in fact, meet somewhere in infinity. And so my dear boy, I've decided that I am incapable of understanding of even that much, I cannot possibly understand about God.”

— Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Yet there have been and still are mathematicians and philosophers who doubt whether the whole universe, or to speak more widely, the whole of being, was only created in Euclid's geometry. They even dare to dream that two parallel lines, which according to Euclid can never meet on earth, may meet somewhere in infinity.”

— Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“There was no hope for him this time: it was the third stroke. Night after night I had passed the house (it was vacation time) and studied the lighted square of window: and night after night I had found it lighted in the same way, faintly and evenly. If he was dead, I thought, I would see the reflection of candles on the darkened blind, for I knew that two candles must be set at the head of a corpse. He had often said to me: I am not long for this world and I had thought his words idle. Now I knew they were true. Every night as I gazed up at the window I said softly to myself the word paralysis. It had always sounded strangely in my ears, like the word gnomon in the Euclid and the word simony in the Catechism. But now it sounded to me like the name of some maleficent and sinful being. It filled me with fear, and yet I longed to be nearer to it and to look upon its deadly work.”

— James Joyce

“The early study of Euclid made me a hater of geometry.”

— James Joseph Sylvester

“I have in later years taken to Euclid, Whitehead, Bertrand Russell, in an elemental way.”

— Carl Sandburg

“Euclid ... manages to obtain a rigorous proof without ever dealing with infinity, by reducing the problem [of the infinitude of primes] to the study of finite numbers. This is exactly what contemporary mathematical analysis does.”

— Lucio Russo

“Euclid avoids it [the treatment of the infinite]; in modern mathematics it is systematically introduced, for only then is generality obtained.”

— Arthur Cayley

“It would be foolish to give credit to Euclid for pangeometrical conceptions; the idea of geometry deifferent from the common-sense one never occurred to his mind. Yet, when he stated the fifth postulate, he stood at the parting of the ways. His subconscious prescience is astounding. There is nothing comperable to it in the whole history of science.”

— George Sarton

— Augustus De Morgan

“Blaise Pascal used to mark with charcoal the walls of his playroom, seeking a means of making a circle perfectly round and a triangle whose sides and angle were all equal. He discovered these things for himself and then began to seek the relationship which existed between them. He did not know any mathematical terms and so he made up his own. Using these names he made axioms and finally developed perfect demonstrations, until he had come to the thirty-second proposition of Euclid.”

— Catharine Cox Miles

“Euclid for children is barbarous.”

— Oliver Heaviside

“From Euclid to Newton there were straight lines. The modern age analyzes the wavers.”

— Saul Bellow

“Euclid Alone Has Looked on Beauty Bare.”

— Edna St. Vincent Millay

— Augustus De Morgan

“I claim that many patterns of Nature are so irregular and fragmented, that, compared with Euclid-a term used in this work to denote all of standard geometry-Nature exhibits not simply a higher degree but an altogether different level of complexity ... The existence of these patterns challenges us to study these forms that Euclid leaves aside as being "formless," to investigate the morphology of the "amorphous."”

— Benoit Mandelbrot

— Thomas Jefferson

“Like a young heir, come a little prematurely to a large inheritance, we shall wanton and run riot until we have brought our reputation to the brink of ruin, and then, like him, shall have to labor with the current of opinion, when COMPELLED perhaps, to do what prudence and common policy pointed out, as plain as any problem in Euclid, in the first instance.”

— George Washington

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