Katowice, Poland

Mathematics (from Greek μάθημα máthēma, "knowledge, study, learning") is the study of such topics as quantity, structure, space, and change. It has no generally accepted definition.

Who has studied the works of such men as Euler, Lagrange, Cauchy, Riemann, Sophus Lie, and Weierstrass, can doubt that a great mathematician is a great artist? The faculties possessed by such men, varying greatly in kind and degree with the individual, are analogous with those requisite for constructive art. Not every mathematician possesses in a specially high degree that critical faculty which finds its employment in the perfection of form, in conformity with the ideal of logical completeness; but every great mathematician possesses the rarer faculty of constructive imagination.

E. W. Hobson, Presidential Address British Association for the Advancement of Science (1910) Nature Vol. 84 p. 290 as quoted by Robert Édouard Moritz, Memorabilia Mathematica; Or, The Philomath's Quotation-book (1914) p. 184.

By relieving the brain of all unnecessary work, a good notation sets it free to concentrate on more advanced problems, and in effect increases... mental power... Probably nothing in the modern world would have more astonished a Greek mathematician than to learn that, under the influence of compulsory education, the whole population of Western Europe, from the highest to the lowest, could perform the operation of division for the largest numbers. This fact would have seemed to him a sheer impossibility.

Alfred North Whitehead, An Introduction to Mathematics (1911) Ch. 5, p. 59.

Mathematical development in England was at a low ebb in the early decades of the nineteenth century, with Cambridge stagnating in the shadow of Newton, who had produced his mathematics nearly a century and a half earlier. This dead hand of tradition, which stifled much initiative and originality, was in sharp contrast to the situation in France.

D. Mary Cannell, "George Green Mathematician and Physicist 1793-1841: The background to his life and work" p. xxviii (second edition, 2001).