Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Archive for April 25th, 2015

How is mathematics like a mystery novel?

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John von Neumann

One also expects “elegance” in [a mathematical theorem’s] “architectural,” structural makeup. Ease in stating the problem, great difficulty in getting hold of it and in all attempts at approaching it, then again some very surprising twist by which the approach, or some part of the approach, becomes easy, etc. Also, if the deductions are lengthy or complicated, there should be some simple general principle involved, which “explains” the complications and detours, reduces the apparent arbitrariness to a few simple guiding motivations, etc. These criteria are clearly those of any creative art.

John von Neumann

Written by nevalalee

April 25, 2015 at 7:30 am

Posted in Quote of the Day

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