Vladimir Arnold Quotes
6 Sourced Quotes
It is almost impossible for me to read contemporary mathematicians who, instead of saying Petya washed his hands, write simply: There is a such that the image of under the natural mapping belongs to the set of dirty hands, and a, such that the image of under the above-mentioned mapping belongs to the complement of the set defined in the preceding sentence.
In the last 30 years, the prestige of mathematics has declined in all countries. I think that mathematicians are partially to be blamed as well—foremost, Hilbert and Bourbaki—the ones who proclaimed that the goal of their science was investigation of all corollaries of arbitrary systems of axioms.
In the middle of the twentieth century it was attempted to divide physics and mathematics. The consequences turned out to be catastrophic. Whole generations of mathematicians grew up without knowing half of their science and, of course, in total ignorance of any other sciences. They first began teaching their ugly scholastic pseudo-mathematics to their students, then to schoolchildren (forgetting Hardy's warning that ugly mathematics has no permanent place under the Sun).
At the beginning of this century a self-destructive democratic principle was advanced in mathematics (especially by Hilbert), according to which all axiom systems have equal right to be analyzed, and the value of a mathematical achievement is determined, not by its significance and usefulness as in other sciences, but by its difficulty alone, as in mountaineering. This principle quickly led mathematicians to break from physics and to separate from all other sciences. In the eyes of all normal people, they were transformed into a sinister priestly caste... Bizarre questions like Fermat's problem or problems on sums of prime numbers were elevated to supposedly central problems of mathematics.