kitchen table math, the sequel: getting used to it

Sunday, March 13, 2011

getting used to it

Young man, in mathematics you don't understand things. You just get used to them.

Reply to Felix T. Smith who had said "I'm afraid I don't understand the method of characteristics."

—as quoted in The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics (1984) by Gary Zukav footnote in page 208.

John von Neumann
I know people here have quoted this before (I think Vlorbik might have been the person who I first heard this from). But I just stumbled across it today and had to quote it again.

For what it's worth, this observation describes my own experience of learning math - quite a bit of it, at any rate.


Anonymous said...

Also, when you see something once, it's a trick. After three times, it's a technique.

Anonymous said...

Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action. --Auric Goldfinger

-Mark Roulo

Catherine Johnson said...

oh my gosh ---- I love those!