Thursday, June 17, 2010

Vladimir Arnold (1937-2010)

I learnt today of the passing of Vladimir Arnold on June 3, 2010. Here is the obituary from New York Times. He was also a commentator on mathematics education. A quote on French teaching of mathematics reads:

To the question "what is 2 + 3" a French primary school pupil replied: "3 + 2, since addition is commutative". He did not know what the sum was equal to and could not even understand what he was asked about!

Another French pupil (quite rational, in my opinion) defined mathematics as follows: "there is a square, but that still has to be proved".

The full article can be found here.


Rahul Basu said...

As a physicist, I thought his most interesting comment was his first

"Mathematics is a part of physics. Physics is an experimental science, a part of natural science. Mathematics is the part of physics where experiments are cheap. "

Anant said...

Yes, it is an interesting comment; the entire article is very interesting indeed.

gaddeswarup said...

I like this Arnold=Poinare quote from another article of Arnold:
Among other important things Poincare explained that 'only non-interesting problems might be formulated unambiguously and solved completely'.