# Michael Atiyah

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Sir **Michael Atiyah** (22 April 1929 – 11 January 2019) was a British mathematician, who specialised in geometry.

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## Quotes[edit]

- Algebra is the offer made by the devil to the mathematician. The devil says: `I will give you this powerful machine, it will answer any question you like. All you need to do is give me your soul: give up geometry and you will have this marvellous machine.'
- Michael Atiyah (2004).
*Collected works. Vol. 6*. Oxford Science Publications. The Clarendon Press Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-853099-2.

- Michael Atiyah (2004).

- My own supervisor, William Hodge, the creator of the fertile theory of harmonic forms, was not a genius like Ramanujan but resembled Lefschetz.
- Michael Atiyah (3 April 2014).
*Michael Atiyah Collected Works: Volume 7: 2002-2013*. Oxford University Press. p. 286. ISBN 978-0-19-968926-2.

- Michael Atiyah (3 April 2014).

- This 'Hodge conjecture' has by now achieved a considerable status, almost on a par with the Riemann hypothesis or the Poincaré conjecture.
- Michael Atiyah (28 April 1988).
*Collected Works: Michael Atiyah Collected Works: Volume 1: Early Papers; General Papers*. Clarendon Press. pp. 250. ISBN 978-0-19-853275-0.

- Michael Atiyah (28 April 1988).

**I always want to try to understand why things work. I’m not interested in getting a formula without knowing what it means. I always try to dig behind the scenes, so if I have a formula, I understand why it’s there. And understanding is a very difficult notion**. People think mathematics begins when you write down a theorem followed by a proof. That’s not the beginning, that’s the end. For me the creative place in mathematics comes before you start to put things down on paper, before you try to write a formula. You picture various things, you turn them over in your mind. You’re trying to create, just as a musician is trying to create music, or a poet. There are no rules laid down. You have to do it your own way. But at the end, just as a composer has to put it down on paper, you have to write things down. But the most important stage is understanding. A proof by itself doesn’t give you understanding. You can have a long proof and no idea at the end of why it works. But to understand why it works, you have to have a kind of gut reaction to the thing. You’ve got to feel it.- On an article by Quanta magazine(when asked:
**Is there one big question that has always guided you?**)[1]

- On an article by Quanta magazine(when asked: