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Henri Poincaré

Geburtstag: 29. April 1854
Todesdatum: 17. Juli 1912
Andere Namen:Анри Пуанкаре

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Jules Henri Poincaré [pwɛ̃kaˈʀe] war ein bedeutender französischer Mathematiker, theoretischer Physiker, theoretischer Astronom und Philosoph.

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Zitate Henri Poincaré

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„Thought is only a gleam in the midst of a long night. But it is this gleam which is everything“

— Henri Poincaré
Context: All that is not thought is pure nothingness; since we can think only thought and all the words we use to speak of things can express only thoughts, to say there is something other than thought, is therefore an affirmation which can have no meaning. And yet—strange contradiction for those who believe in time—geologic history shows us that life is only a short episode between two eternities of death, and that, even in this episode, conscious thought has lasted and will last only a moment. Thought is only a gleam in the midst of a long night. But it is this gleam which is everything.<!--p.142 Ch. 11: Science and Reality

„Does the mathematical method proceed from particular to the general, and, if so, how can it be called deductive? ...If we refuse to admit these consequences, it must be conceded that mathematical reasoning has of itself a sort of creative virtue and consequently differs from a syllogism.“

— Henri Poincaré
Context: The very possibility of the science of mathematics seems an insoluble contradiction. If this science is deductive only in appearance, whence does it derive that perfect rigor no one dreams of doubting? If, on the contrary, all the propositions it enunciates can be deduced one from another by the rules of formal logic, why is not mathematics reduced to an immense tautology? The syllogism can teach us nothing essentially new, and, if everything is to spring from the principle of identity, everything should be capable of being reduced to it. Shall we then admit that the enunciations of all those theorems which fill so many volumes are nothing but devious ways of saying A is A!... Does the mathematical method proceed from particular to the general, and, if so, how can it be called deductive?... If we refuse to admit these consequences, it must be conceded that mathematical reasoning has of itself a sort of creative virtue and consequently differs from a syllogism.<!--pp.5-6 Ch. I: On the Nature of Mathematical Reasoning (1905) Tr. https://books.google.com/books?id=5nQSAAAAYAAJ George Bruce Halstead

„A scientist worthy of the name, above all a mathematician, experiences in his work the same impression as an artist; his pleasure is as great and of the same nature.“

— Henri Poincaré
Context: A scientist worthy of the name, above all a mathematician, experiences in his work the same impression as an artist; his pleasure is as great and of the same nature.... we work not only to obtain the positive results which, according to the profane, constitute our one and only affection, as to experience this esthetic emotion and to convey it to others who are capable of experiencing it. "Notice sur Halphen," Journal de l'École Polytechnique (Paris, 1890), 60ème cahier, p. 143. See also Tobias Dantzig, Henri Poincaré, Critic of Crisis: Reflections on His Universe of Discourse (1954) p. 8

„Every definition implies an axiom, since it asserts the existence of the object defined.“

— Henri Poincaré
Context: Every definition implies an axiom, since it asserts the existence of the object defined. The definition then will not be justified, from the purely logical point of view, until we have proved that it involves no contradiction either in its terms or with the truths previously admitted. Part II. Ch. 2 : Mathematical Definitions and Education, p. 131

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„When we say force is the cause of motion, we talk metaphysics“

— Henri Poincaré
Context: What is mass? According to Newton, it is the product of the volume by the density. According to Thomson and Tait, it would be better to say that density is the quotient of the mass by the volume. What is force? It, is replies Lagrange, that which moves or tends to move a body. It is, Kirchhoff will say, the product of the mass by the acceleration. But then, why not say the mass is the quotient of the force by the acceleration? These difficulties are inextricable. When we say force is the cause of motion, we talk metaphysics, and this definition, if one were content with it, would be absolutely sterile. For a definition to be of any use, it must teach us to measure force; moreover that suffices; it is not at all necessary that it teach us what force is in itself, nor whether it is the cause or the effect of motion. We must therefore first define the equality of two forces. When shall we say two forces are equal? It is, we are told, when, applied to the same mass, they impress upon it the same acceleration, or when, opposed directly one to the other, they produce equilibrium. This definition is only a sham. A force applied to a body can not be uncoupled to hook it up to another body, as one uncouples a locomotive to attach it to another train. It is therefore impossible to know what acceleration such a force, applied to such a body, would impress upon such an other body, if it were applied to it. It is impossible to know how two forces which are not directly opposed would act, if they were directly opposed. We are... obliged in the definition of the equality of the two forces to bring in the principle of the equality of action and reaction; on this account, this principle must no longer be regarded as an experimental law, but as a definition.<!--pp.73-74 Ch. VI: The Classical Mechanics (1905) Tr. https://books.google.com/books?id=5nQSAAAAYAAJ George Bruce Halstead

„The very possibility of the science of mathematics seems an insoluble contradiction.“

— Henri Poincaré
Context: The very possibility of the science of mathematics seems an insoluble contradiction. If this science is deductive only in appearance, whence does it derive that perfect rigor no one dreams of doubting? If, on the contrary, all the propositions it enunciates can be deduced one from another by the rules of formal logic, why is not mathematics reduced to an immense tautology? The syllogism can teach us nothing essentially new, and, if everything is to spring from the principle of identity, everything should be capable of being reduced to it. Shall we then admit that the enunciations of all those theorems which fill so many volumes are nothing but devious ways of saying A is A!... Does the mathematical method proceed from particular to the general, and, if so, how can it be called deductive?... If we refuse to admit these consequences, it must be conceded that mathematical reasoning has of itself a sort of creative virtue and consequently differs from a syllogism.<!--pp.5-6 Ch. I: On the Nature of Mathematical Reasoning (1905) Tr. https://books.google.com/books?id=5nQSAAAAYAAJ George Bruce Halstead

„Induction applied to the physical sciences is always uncertain, because it rests on the belief in a general order of the universe, an order outside of us.“

— Henri Poincaré
Context: But, one will say, if raw experience can not legitimatize reasoning by recurrence, is it so of experiment aided by induction? We see successively that a theorem is true of the number 1, of the number 2, of the number 3 and so on; the law is evident, we say, and it has the same warranty as every physical law based on observations, whose number is very great but limited. But there is an essential difference. Induction applied to the physical sciences is always uncertain, because it rests on the belief in a general order of the universe, an order outside of us. Mathematical induction, that is, demonstration by recurrence, on the contrary, imposes itself necessarily, because it is only the affirmation of a property of the mind itself.<!--pp.13-14 Ch. I. (1905) Tr. George Bruce Halstead

„The principal aim of mathematical education is to develop certain faculties of the mind, and among these intuition is not the least precious.“

— Henri Poincaré
Context: The principal aim of mathematical education is to develop certain faculties of the mind, and among these intuition is not the least precious. It is through it that the mathematical world remains in touch with the real world, and even if pure mathematics could do without it, we should still have to have recourse to it to fill up the gulf that separates the symbol from reality. Part II. Ch. 2 : Mathematical Definitions and Education, p. 128 Variant translation: The chief aim of mathematics teaching is to develop certain faculties of the mind, and among these intuition is by no means the least valuable.

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„The scientist does not study nature because it is useful to do so. He studies it because he takes pleasure in it, and he takes pleasure in it because it is beautiful.“

— Henri Poincaré
Context: The scientist does not study nature because it is useful to do so. He studies it because he takes pleasure in it, and he takes pleasure in it because it is beautiful. If nature were not beautiful it would not be worth knowing, and life would not be worth living. I am not speaking, of course, of the beauty which strikes the senses, of the beauty of qualities and appearances. I am far from despising this, but it has nothing to do with science. What I mean is that more intimate beauty which comes from the harmonious order of its parts, and which a pure intelligence can grasp. Part I. Ch. 1 : The Selection of Facts, p. 22

„The task of the educator is to make the child's spirit pass again where its forefathers have gone, moving rapidly through certain stages but suppressing none of them.“

— Henri Poincaré
Context: The task of the educator is to make the child's spirit pass again where its forefathers have gone, moving rapidly through certain stages but suppressing none of them. In this regard, the history of science must be our guide. "La logique et l'intuition dans la science mathématique et dans l'enseignement" [Logic and intuition in the science of mathematics and in teaching], L'enseignement mathématique (1899)

„For a definition to be of any use, it must teach us to measure force; moreover that suffices; it is not at all necessary that it teach us what force is in itself, nor whether it is the cause or the effect of motion.“

— Henri Poincaré
Context: What is mass? According to Newton, it is the product of the volume by the density. According to Thomson and Tait, it would be better to say that density is the quotient of the mass by the volume. What is force? It, is replies Lagrange, that which moves or tends to move a body. It is, Kirchhoff will say, the product of the mass by the acceleration. But then, why not say the mass is the quotient of the force by the acceleration? These difficulties are inextricable. When we say force is the cause of motion, we talk metaphysics, and this definition, if one were content with it, would be absolutely sterile. For a definition to be of any use, it must teach us to measure force; moreover that suffices; it is not at all necessary that it teach us what force is in itself, nor whether it is the cause or the effect of motion. We must therefore first define the equality of two forces. When shall we say two forces are equal? It is, we are told, when, applied to the same mass, they impress upon it the same acceleration, or when, opposed directly one to the other, they produce equilibrium. This definition is only a sham. A force applied to a body can not be uncoupled to hook it up to another body, as one uncouples a locomotive to attach it to another train. It is therefore impossible to know what acceleration such a force, applied to such a body, would impress upon such an other body, if it were applied to it. It is impossible to know how two forces which are not directly opposed would act, if they were directly opposed. We are... obliged in the definition of the equality of the two forces to bring in the principle of the equality of action and reaction; on this account, this principle must no longer be regarded as an experimental law, but as a definition.<!--pp.73-74 Ch. VI: The Classical Mechanics (1905) Tr. https://books.google.com/books?id=5nQSAAAAYAAJ George Bruce Halstead

„Science is built up with facts, as a house is with stones. But a collection of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house.“

— Henri Poincaré
Context: The Scientist must set in order. Science is built up with facts, as a house is with stones. But a collection of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house. Ch. IX: Hypotheses in Physics, Tr. George Bruce Halsted (1913)

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