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Creative people live in two worlds. One is the ordinary world which they share with others and in which they are not in any special way set apart from their fellow men. The other is private and it is in this world that the creative acts take place.
Mark Kac
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When one is young, and seventeen is very young, one lives in the present. The future, even the near future, is cloaked in unreality.
Mark Kac
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Independence is the central concept of probability theory and few would believe today that understanding what it meant was ever a problem.
Mark Kac
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Where there is independence there must be the normal law.
Mark Kac
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I didn't even try to penetrate the comics, though many years later I came, somewhat grudgingly, to admire Pogo.
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As a mathematician Erdös is what in other fields is called a "natural". If a problem can be stated in terms he can understand, though it may belong to a field with which he is not familiar, he is as likely as, or even more likely than, the experts to find a solution.
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In recent years we have become much more preoccupied with streamlining and organizing our subject than with maintaining its overall vitality. If we are not careful, a great adventure of the mind will become yet another profession.
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There are, roughly speaking, two kinds of mathematical creativity. One, akin to conquering a mountain peak, consists of solving a problem which has remained unsolved for a long time and has commanded the attention of many mathematicians. The other is exploring new territory.
Mark Kac
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As an introduction to America, my ten months in Baltimore were superb. I find it difficult to find words to convey the feeling of decompression, of freedom, of being caught in a sweep of unimagined and unimaginable grandeur. It was a life on a different scale with more of everything - more air to breathe, more things to see, more people to know.
Mark Kac
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I prefer concrete things and I don't like to learn more about abstract stuff than I absolutely have to.
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To the author the main charm of probability theory lies in the enormous variability of its applications. Few mathematical disciplines have contributed to as wide a spectrum of subjects, a spectrum ranging from number theory to physics, and even fewer have penetrated so decisively the whole of our scientific thinking.
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Unrestricted abstraction tends to divert attention from whole areas of application whose very discovery depends on the features that the abstract point of view rules out as being accidental.
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I then reached for a time honored tactic used by mathematicians: if you can't solve the real problem, change it into one you can solve.
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There are two kinds of geniuses: the 'ordinary' and the 'magicians.' an ordinary genius is a fellow whom you and I would be just as good as, if we were only many times better. There is no mystery as to how his mind works. Once we understand what they've done, we feel certain that we, too, could have done it. It is different with the magicians... Feynman is a magician of the highest caliber.
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Steinhaus, with his predilection for metaphors, used to quote a Polish proverb, "Forturny kolem sie tocza " (Luck runs in circles), to explain why pi, so intimately connected with circles, keeps cropping up in probability theory and statistics, the two disciplines which deal with randomness and luck.
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To exist (in mathematics), said Henri Poincaré, is to be free from contradiction. But mere existence does not guarantee survival. To survive in mathematics requires a kind of vitality that cannot be described in purely logical terms.
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I had a phenomenal memory and could recite long poems by Russian poets, mainly Pushkin. Except for an unusual memory, I was not precocious in any respect and somewhat later, to the chagrin of my father, I was inordinately slow learning the multiplication tables.
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If doing mathematics or science is looked upon as a game, then one might say that in mathematics you compete against yourself or other mathematicians; in physics your adversary is nature and the stakes are higher.
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There was hardly a page in Markov's book which did not feature the normal law and it cast a spell over me from which I have never fully recovered. Adding to the fascination was the impression that somehow the normal law was the key to mysterious and elusive world of chance phenomena.
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In the summer of 1930 my academic future, however, was not uppermost in my mind. I had been stricken by an acute attack of a disease which at regular intervals afflicts all mathematicians and, for that matter, all scientists: I became obsessed by a problem.
Mark Kac
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You can only perceive real beauty in a person as they get older.
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Mark Kac
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Born:
August 3, 1914
Died:
October 26, 1984
(aged 70)
Bio:
Mark Kac was a Polish American mathematician. He was born to a Polish-Jewish family; their town, Kremenets, changed hands from the Russian Empire to Poland when Kac was a child. His main interest was probability theory.
Known for:
Mathematics and logic (1968)
Discrete thoughts
Enigmas of Chance
Most used words:
problem
,
find
,
time
,
mind
,
mathematicians
,
normal
,
future
,
law
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