Henri Poincaré

French mathematician and physicist

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.

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

The mathematical facts worthy of being studied are those which, by their analogy with other facts, are capable of leading us to the knowledge of a physical law. They reveal the kinship between other facts, long known, but wrongly believed to be strangers to one another.

Mathematicians do not study objects, but relations between objects. Thus, they are free to replace some objects by others so long as the relations remain unchanged. Content to them is irrelevant: they are interested in form only.

The two propositions: "The earth turns round" and "it is more convenient to suppose the earth turns round" have the same meaning; there is nothing more in the one than in the other.

One would have to have completely forgotten the history of science so as to not remember that the desire to know nature has had the most constant and the happiest influence on the development of mathematics.