# Carl Friedrich Gauß quotes

## Carl Friedrich Gauß

**Dátum narodenia:** 30. apríl 1777**Dátum úmrtia:** 23. február 1855

Carl Friedrich Gauß bol jeden z najväčších matematikov a fyzikov všetkých čias. Zaoberal sa teóriou čísel, matematickou analýzou, geometriou, geodéziou, magnetizmom, astronómiou a optikou.

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### Citáty Carl Friedrich Gauß

### „The enchanting charms of this sublime science reveal themselves in all their beauty only to those who have the courage to go deeply into it.“

— Carl Friedrich Gauss

Context: The enchanting charms of this sublime science reveal themselves in all their beauty only to those who have the courage to go deeply into it. But when a person of that sex, that, because of our mores and our prejudices, has to encounter infinitely more obstacles and difficulties than men in familiarizing herself with these thorny research problems, nevertheless succeeds in surmounting these obstacles and penetrating their most obscure parts, she must without doubt have the noblest courage, quite extraordinary talents and superior genius.
Letter to Sophie Germain (30 April 1807) ([...]; les charmes enchanteurs de cette sublime science ne se décèlent dans toute leur beauté qu'à ceux qui ont le courage de l'approfondir. Mais lorsqu'une personne de ce sexe, qui, par nos meurs [sic] et par nos préjugés, doit rencontrer infiniment plus d'obstacles et de difficultés, que les hommes, à se familiariser avec ces recherches épineuses, sait néanmoins franchir ces entraves et pénétrer ce qu'elles ont de plus caché, il faut sans doute, qu'elle ait le plus noble courage, des talents tout à fait extraordinaires, le génie superieur.)

### „In researches in which an infinity of directions of straight lines in space is concerned, it is advantageous to represent these directions by means of those points upon a fixed sphere“

— Carl Friedrich Gauss

Context: In researches in which an infinity of directions of straight lines in space is concerned, it is advantageous to represent these directions by means of those points upon a fixed sphere, which are the end points of the radii drawn parallel to the lines. The centre and the radius of this auxiliary sphere are here quite arbitrary. The radius may be taken equal to unity. This procedure agrees fundamentally with that which is constantly employed in astronomy, where all directions are referred to a fictitious celestial sphere of infinite radius. Spherical trigonometry and certain other theorems, to which the author has added a new one of frequent application, then serve for the solution of the problems which the comparison of the various directions involved can present.
"Gauss's Abstract of the Disquisitiones Generales circa Superficies Curvas presented to the Royal Society of Gottingen" (1827) Tr. James Caddall Morehead & Adam Miller Hiltebeitel in General Investigations of Curved Surfaces of 1827 and 1825 http://books.google.com/books?id=SYJsAAAAMAAJ& (1902)

### „The centre and the radius of this auxiliary sphere are here quite arbitrary.“

— Carl Friedrich Gauss

Context: In researches in which an infinity of directions of straight lines in space is concerned, it is advantageous to represent these directions by means of those points upon a fixed sphere, which are the end points of the radii drawn parallel to the lines. The centre and the radius of this auxiliary sphere are here quite arbitrary. The radius may be taken equal to unity. This procedure agrees fundamentally with that which is constantly employed in astronomy, where all directions are referred to a fictitious celestial sphere of infinite radius. Spherical trigonometry and certain other theorems, to which the author has added a new one of frequent application, then serve for the solution of the problems which the comparison of the various directions involved can present.
"Gauss's Abstract of the Disquisitiones Generales circa Superficies Curvas presented to the Royal Society of Gottingen" (1827) Tr. James Caddall Morehead & Adam Miller Hiltebeitel in General Investigations of Curved Surfaces of 1827 and 1825 http://books.google.com/books?id=SYJsAAAAMAAJ& (1902)

### „Spherical trigonometry and certain other theorems, to which the author has added a new one of frequent application, then serve for the solution of the problems which the comparison of the various directions involved can present.“

— Carl Friedrich Gauss

Context: In researches in which an infinity of directions of straight lines in space is concerned, it is advantageous to represent these directions by means of those points upon a fixed sphere, which are the end points of the radii drawn parallel to the lines. The centre and the radius of this auxiliary sphere are here quite arbitrary. The radius may be taken equal to unity. This procedure agrees fundamentally with that which is constantly employed in astronomy, where all directions are referred to a fictitious celestial sphere of infinite radius. Spherical trigonometry and certain other theorems, to which the author has added a new one of frequent application, then serve for the solution of the problems which the comparison of the various directions involved can present.
"Gauss's Abstract of the Disquisitiones Generales circa Superficies Curvas presented to the Royal Society of Gottingen" (1827) Tr. James Caddall Morehead & Adam Miller Hiltebeitel in General Investigations of Curved Surfaces of 1827 and 1825 http://books.google.com/books?id=SYJsAAAAMAAJ& (1902)

### „It is not knowledge, but the act of learning, not possession but the act of getting there, which grants the greatest enjoyment.“

— Carl Friedrich Gauss

Context: It is not knowledge, but the act of learning, not possession but the act of getting there, which grants the greatest enjoyment. [Wahrlich es ist nicht das Wissen, sondern das Lernen, nicht das Besitzen sondern das Erwerben, nicht das Da-Seyn, sondern das Hinkommen, was den grössten Genuss gewährt. ] When I have clarified and exhausted a subject, then I turn away from it, in order to go into darkness again. The never-satisfied man is so strange; if he has completed a structure, then it is not in order to dwell in it peacefully, but in order to begin another. I imagine the world conqueror must feel thus, who, after one kingdom is scarcely conquered, stretches out his arms for others.
Letter to Farkas Bolyai (2 September 1808)

### „But of all these principles ours is the most simple; by the others we should be led into the most complicated calculations.“

— Carl Friedrich Gauss

Context: The principle that the sum of the squares of the differences between the observed and computed quantities must be a minimum may, in the following manner, be considered independently of the calculus of probabilities. When the number of unknown quantities is equal to the number of the observed quantities depending on them, the former may be so determined as exactly to satisfy the latter. But when the number of the former is less than that of the latter, an absolutely exact agreement cannot be obtained, unless the observations possess absolute accuracy. In this case care must be taken to establish the best possible agreement, or to diminish as far as practicable the differences. This idea, however, from its nature, involves something vague. For, although a system of values for the unknown quantities which makes all the differences respectively less than another system, is without doubt to be preferred to the latter, still the choice between two systems, one of which presents a better agreement in some observations, the other in others, is left in a measure to our judgment, and innumerable different principles can be proposed by which the former condition is satisfied. Denoting the differences between observation and calculation by A, A’, A’’, etc., the first condition will be satisfied not only if AA + A’ A’ + A’’ A’’ + etc., is a minimum (which is our principle) but also if A4 + A’4 + A’’4 + etc., or A6 + A’6 + A’’6 + etc., or in general, if the sum of any of the powers with an even exponent becomes a minimum. But of all these principles ours is the most simple; by the others we should be led into the most complicated calculations.
Theoria motus corporum coelestium in sectionibus conicis solem ambientum (1809) Tr. Charles Henry Davis as Theory of the Motion of the Heavenly Bodies moving about the Sun in Conic Sections http://books.google.com/books?id=cspWAAAAMAAJ& (1857)

### „The principle that the sum of the squares of the differences between the observed and computed quantities must be a minimum may, in the following manner, be considered independently of the calculus of probabilities.“

— Carl Friedrich Gauss

Context: The principle that the sum of the squares of the differences between the observed and computed quantities must be a minimum may, in the following manner, be considered independently of the calculus of probabilities. When the number of unknown quantities is equal to the number of the observed quantities depending on them, the former may be so determined as exactly to satisfy the latter. But when the number of the former is less than that of the latter, an absolutely exact agreement cannot be obtained, unless the observations possess absolute accuracy. In this case care must be taken to establish the best possible agreement, or to diminish as far as practicable the differences. This idea, however, from its nature, involves something vague. For, although a system of values for the unknown quantities which makes all the differences respectively less than another system, is without doubt to be preferred to the latter, still the choice between two systems, one of which presents a better agreement in some observations, the other in others, is left in a measure to our judgment, and innumerable different principles can be proposed by which the former condition is satisfied. Denoting the differences between observation and calculation by A, A’, A’’, etc., the first condition will be satisfied not only if AA + A’ A’ + A’’ A’’ + etc., is a minimum (which is our principle) but also if A4 + A’4 + A’’4 + etc., or A6 + A’6 + A’’6 + etc., or in general, if the sum of any of the powers with an even exponent becomes a minimum. But of all these principles ours is the most simple; by the others we should be led into the most complicated calculations.
Theoria motus corporum coelestium in sectionibus conicis solem ambientum (1809) Tr. Charles Henry Davis as Theory of the Motion of the Heavenly Bodies moving about the Sun in Conic Sections http://books.google.com/books?id=cspWAAAAMAAJ& (1857)

### „It may be true, that men, who are mere mathematicians, have certain specific shortcomings, but that is not the fault of mathematics, for it is equally true of every other exclusive occupation.“

— Carl Friedrich Gauss

Context: It may be true, that men, who are mere mathematicians, have certain specific shortcomings, but that is not the fault of mathematics, for it is equally true of every other exclusive occupation. So there are mere philologists, mere jurists, mere soldiers, mere merchants, etc. To such idle talk it might further be added: that whenever a certain exclusive occupation is coupled with specific shortcomings, it is likewise almost certainly divorced from certain other shortcomings.
Gauss-Schumacher Briefwechsel (1862)

### „The perturbations which the motions of planets suffer from the influence other planets, are so small and so slow that they only become sensible after a long interval of time; within a shorter time“

— Carl Friedrich Gauss

Context: The perturbations which the motions of planets suffer from the influence other planets, are so small and so slow that they only become sensible after a long interval of time; within a shorter time, or even within one or several revolutions, according to circumstances, the motion would differ so little from motion exactly described, according to the laws of Kepler, in a perfect ellipse, that observations cannot show the difference. As long as this is true, it not be worth while to undertake prematurely the computation of the perturbations, but it will be sufficient to adapt to the observations what we may call an osculating conic section: but, afterwards, when the planet has been observed for a longer time, the effect of the perturbations will show itself in such a manner, that it will no longer be possible to satisfy exactly all the observations by a purely elliptic motion; then, accordingly, a complete and permanent agreement cannot be obtained, unless the perturbations are properly connected with the elliptic motion.
Theoria motus corporum coelestium... (1809) Tr. Charles Henry Davis as Theory of the Motion of the Heavenly Bodies moving about the Sun in Conic Sections (1857)

### „The history of the apple is too absurd. Whether the apple fell or not, how can any one believe that such a discovery could in that way be accelerated or retarded? Undoubtedly, the occurrence was something of this sort. There comes to Newton a stupid, importunate man, who asks him how he hit upon his great discovery. When Newton had convinced himself what a noodle he had to do with, and wanted to get rid of the man, he told him that an apple fell on his nose; and this made the matter quite clear to the man, and he went away satisfied.“

— Carl Friedrich Gauss

As quoted by Robert Chambers, "Sir Isaac Newton and the Apple," The Book of Days (1832) Vol. 2 https://books.google.com/books?id=K0UJAAAAIAAJ, p. 757.

### „You know that I write slowly. This is chiefly because I am never satisfied until I have said as much as possible in a few words, and writing briefly takes far more time than writing at length.“

— Carl Friedrich Gauss

As quoted in Calculus Gems (1992) by George F. Simmons