Friday, September 10, 2010

Math Quote Of The Day.

From the mathematician Yuri Manin quoted here:
A proof only becomes a proof after the social act of “accepting it as a proof".
Unfortunately, there is some truth to this.


  1. Change "proof" to "God". That is the truth about social God, preached by loudmouths world over, and, usually leads to killing for those socially refuse acceptance. Go for a long hike and find your personal connection that will always be yours, noone else. Enjoy.

  2. Ummm... Last I checked, this was a post about math. To quote Star Wars "Stay on target."

    Anyways, regarding the quote, yes there is truth to it, but I don't consider it to be entirely unfortunate. One reason for this is because of Godel's Incompleteness Theorems. (Now, I'm no expert on the subject, so I could be wrong, but this is how I understand it.) In short, mathematics is incomplete. It fundamentally cannot prove its own self-consistency. There will always be mathematically undecidable statements. I had a math professor once who said that, because of Godel, a proof is simply "a thoroughly convincing argument." He praised this as probably the greatest thing to happen to math, because this also means that it can never be fully reduced to an automatic, computer-based field. It will always be somewhat of an art form. There will always be a human element. And that's wonderful.

  3. Bill, those are some really interesting points. And I especially like what your professor said about a proof now is now nothing more than a throughly convincing argument for.


To add a link to text:
<a href="URL">Text</a>