David Berlinski

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David Berlinski (born 1942) is an American author who has written books about mathematics and the history of science as well as fiction. An opponent of evolution, he is a senior fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, an organization dedicated to promulgating the pseudoscience of intelligent design.


A Tour of the Calculus (1995)[edit]

All quotes from the trade paperback edition, published by Vintage Books, ISBN 0-679-74788-5 (February 1997), 4th printing
Italics as in the book

  • A mathematical argument, once understood, is in its capacity to compel belief a miracle of enlightened life.
    • A Note to the Reader (p. xvi)
  • In the twelfth century, for example, Bhāskara demonstrated correctly that + = an achievement, I might add, utterly beyond the collective intellectual power, say, of the English department at Duke University. (It is pleasant to imagine members of the department sitting together in a long lecture hall, Marxists to one side, deconstructionists to the other, abusing one another roundly as they grapple with the problem.)
    • Chapter 6, “Yo” (p. 38)
  • Then he said what I knew—what I had always known—he would say. It is what the dead always say, and it is the only thing they say.
    “Remember me.”
    • Chapter 15, “Prague Interlude” (p. 149)
  • The derivative is an artifact, the first of the great concepts of modern science that fails conspicuously to correspond to anything in real life.
    • Chapter 16, “Memory of Motion” (p. 165)
  • Stepping forward, I step back, the two steps, one forward and one back, canceling one another so that after they have been completed, I am where I started, having done something but accomplished little, a useful metaphor for a great many activities in life.
    • Chapter 20, “The Song of Igor” (p. 220)
  • It is here, at this very moment when the first utterly trivial differential equation is solved, that the secret form of words is revealed that makes modern science possible.
    • Chapter 20, “The Song of Igor” (p. 230)
  • “Any idiot,” he said calmly but with immense conviction, “can learn anything in mathematics. It requires only patience.”
    • Chapter 24, “The Integral Wishes to Become a Function” (p. 281; quoting Alonzo Church)
  • I have written this book in isolation, hardly talking to a soul, but unoppressed as well by campus codes or creeds, free to say what I want and when I want. It is a measure of the degradation that has overtaken American academic life that I should feel obliged to boast of such circumstances.
    • Acknowledgments (p. 313)

External links[edit]

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