Godfrey Harold Harry was one of the most famous mathematicians known for his achievements in mathematical analysis and number theory. He is popularly recognized as the man who tamed Srinivasa Ramanujan, another great Mathematician from India. A whiz right from a young age, there are tales saying that Hardy used to write number up to millions when he was just two years old. He referred most of his work as pure mathematics rather than applied mathematics. He collaborated with Ramanujan to derive a formula which is known as the ‘Hardy-Ramanujan asymptotic formula’ which was applied in physics. One of his most credited works among many was reforming British mathematics by including ‘Rigour’ into it. Besides his works, his essay on aesthetics of mathematics ‘A Mathematicians Apology’ is one of the best visions for a mathematician written in the layman’s language. We have compiled Hardy’s quotes from his writings, speeches, observations etc. Below are a few of G. H. Hardy’s thoughts and sayings.
If a man is in any sense a real mathematician, then it is a hundred to one that his mathematics will be far better than anything else he can do, and that it would be silly if he surrendered any decent opportunity of exercising his one talent in order to do undistinguished work in other fields. Such a sacrifice could be justified only by economic necessity of age.
I do not remember having felt, as a boy, any passion for mathematics, and such notions as I may have had of the career of a mathematician were far from noble. I thought of mathematics in terms of examinations and scholarships: I wanted to beat other boys, and this seemed to be the way in which I could do so most decisively.
It is a melancholy experience for a professional mathematician to find himself writing about mathematics. The function of a mathematician is to do something, to prove new theorems, to add to mathematics, and not to talk about what he or other mathematicians have done. Statesmen despise publicists, painters despise art-critics, and physiologists, physicists, or mathematicians have usually similar feelings: there is no scorn more profound, or on the whole more justifiable, than that of the men who make for the men who explain. Exposition, criticism, appreciation, is work for second-rate minds.
Reductio ad absurdum, which Euclid loved so much, is one of a mathematician's finest weapons. It is a far finer gambit than any chess play: a chess player may offer the sacrifice of a pawn or even a piece, but a mathematician offers the game.
Most people are so frightened of the name of mathematics that they are ready, quite unaffectedly, to exaggerate their own mathematical stupidity.
G. H. Hardy
[Regarding mathematics,] there are now few studies more generally recognized, for good reasons or bad, as profitable and praiseworthy. This may be true; indeed it is probable, since the sensational triumphs of Einstein, that stellar astronomy and atomic physics are the only sciences which stand higher in popular estimation.
G. H. Hardy
Mathematics is not a contemplative but a creative subject.
G. H. Hardy
I propose to put forward an apology for mathematics; and I may be told that it needs none, since there are now few studies more generally recognized, for good reasons or bad, as profitable and praiseworthy.
[I was advised] to read Jordan's 'Cours d'analyse'; and I shall never forget the astonishment with which I read that remarkable work, the first inspiration for so many mathematicians of my generation, and learnt for the first time as I read it what mathematics really meant.
The Babylonian and Assyrian civilizations have perished; Hammurabi, Sargon and Nebuchadnezzar are empty names; yet Babylonian mathematics is still interesting, and the Babylonian scale of 60 is still used in Astronomy.
G. H. Hardy
A science is said to be useful if its development tends to accentuate the existing inequalities in the distribution of wealth, or more directly promotes the destruction of human life.