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Author:W.W. Sawyer
Topics:Quotes about Science

Quote by W.W. Sawyer : “It might be objected that”

It might be objected that men are not trees; that if a man realizes something ought to be done, he can go and do it. This is true within certain limits. There can be social conditions favourable to mathematical studies; if a country urgently needs mathematicians, and if everyone knows this, mathematics may well flourish. But this still does not answer the question of how · it comes to flourish. An external motive, good or bad, is not enough. Greed for money, desire for fame, love of humanity are equally incapable of making a man a composer of great music. It has been said that most young men would like to be able to sit down at the piano and improvise sonatas before admiring crowds. But few do it; to desire the end does not provide the means; to make music you must be interested in music, as well as (or instead of) in being admired. And to make mathematics you must be interested in mathematics. The fascination of pattern and the logical classification of pattern must have taken hold of you. It need not be the only emotion in your mind; you may pursue other aims, respond to other duties; but if it is not there, you will contribute nothing to mathematics. – W.W. Sawyer