If people do not believe that mathematics is simple, it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is. John von Neumann

If people do not believe that mathematics is simple, it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is.

You insist that there is something a machine cannot do. If you tell me precisely what it is a machine cannot do, then I can always make a machine which will do just that. John von Neumann

You insist that there is something a machine cannot do. If you tell me precisely what it is a machine cannot do, then I can always make a machine which will do just that.

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

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

Truth is much too complicated to allow anything but approximations. John von Neumann

Truth is much too complicated to allow anything but approximations.

Computers are like humans - they do everything except think. John von Neumann

Computers are like humans - they do everything except think.

Science, as well as technology, will in the near and in the farther future increasingly turn from problems of intensity, substance, and energy, to problems of structure, organization, information, and control. John von Neumann

Science, as well as technology, will in the near and in the farther future increasingly turn from problems of intensity, substance, and energy, to problems of structure, organization, information, and control.

Anyone who attempts to generate random numbers by deterministic means is, of course, living in a state of sin. John von Neumann

Anyone who attempts to generate random numbers by deterministic means is, of course, living in a state of sin.

There's no sense in being precise when you don't even know what you're talking about. John von Neumann

There's no sense in being precise when you don't even know what you're talking about.

With four parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk. John von Neumann

With four parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk.

The sciences do not try to explain, they hardly even try to interpret, they mainly make models. By a model is meant a mathematical construct which, with the addition of certain verbal interpretations, describes observed phenomena. The justification of such a mathematical construct is solely and precisely that it is expected to work-that is, correctly to describe phenomena from a reasonably wide area. John von Neumann

The sciences do not try to explain, they hardly even try to interpret, they mainly make models. By a model is meant a mathematical construct which, with the addition of certain verbal interpretations, describes observed phenomena. The justification of such a mathematical construct is solely and precisely that it is expected to work-that is, correctly to describe phenomena from a reasonably wide area.

The total subject of mathematics is clearly too broad for any of us. I do not think that any mathematician since Gauss has covered it uniformly and fully; even Hilbert did not and all of us are of considerably lesser width quite apart from the question of depth than Hilbert. John von Neumann

The total subject of mathematics is clearly too broad for any of us. I do not think that any mathematician since Gauss has covered it uniformly and fully; even Hilbert did not and all of us are of considerably lesser width quite apart from the question of depth than Hilbert.

All stable processes we shall predict. All unstable processes we shall control. John von Neumann

All stable processes we shall predict. All unstable processes we shall control.

There probably is a God. Many things are easier to explain if there is than if there isn't. John von Neumann

There probably is a God. Many things are easier to explain if there is than if there isn't.

When we talk mathematics, we may be discussing a secondary language built on the primary language of the nervous system. John von Neumann

When we talk mathematics, we may be discussing a secondary language built on the primary language of the nervous system.

Problems are often stated in vague terms... because it is quite uncertain what the problems really are. John von Neumann

Problems are often stated in vague terms... because it is quite uncertain what the problems really are.

I am thinking about something much more important than bombs. I am thinking about computers. John von Neumann

I am thinking about something much more important than bombs. I am thinking about computers.

Born: December 28, 1903

Died: February 8, 1957

Profession: Mathematician

Create an account to follow or to post