18th-century Mathematician Quotes
The poetic beauty of Davy's mind never seems to have left him. To that circumstance I would ascribe the distinguishing feature in his character, and in his discoveries,—a vivid imagination sketching out new tracts in regions unexplored, for the judgement to select those leading to the recesses of abstract truth.
Of Humphry Davy
A very extensive class of phenomena exists, not produced by mechanical forces, but resulting simply from the presence and accumulation of heat. This part of natural philosophy cannot be connected with dynamical theories, it has principles peculiar to itself, and is founded on a method similar to that of other exact sciences.
The design of this Memoir is to deduce strictly from a few principles, obtained chiefly by experiment, the rationale of those electrical phenomena which are produced by the mutual contact of two or more bodies, and which have been termed galvanic; its aim is attained if by means of it the variety of facts be presented as unity to the mind.
It will seem not a little paradoxical to ascribe a great importance to observations even in that part of the mathematical sciences which is usually called Pure Mathematics, since the current opinion is that observations are restricted to physical objects that make impressions on the senses.
In our daily walks we tread with heedless step upon the apparently uninteresting objects of which it [geology] treats; but could we rightly interrogate the rounded pebble in our path, it would tell us of the convulsions by which it was wrenched from its parent rock, and of the floods by which it was abraded and placed beneath our feet.
Those periods of history when phenomena previously thought to be due to totally diverse causes have been reduced to a single principle were almost always accompanied by the discovery of many new facts, because a new approach in the conception of causes suggests a multitude of new experiments to try and explanations to verify.