Practical Geometry and Graphics

D. A. Low
1913 Mathematical Gazette  
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more » ... s real as that with which we are environed." "I do not regard mathematics as a science purely of calculation, but one of ideas, and as the embodiment of a philosophy. . . . Faraday, at the end of his experimental lectures, was accustomed to say-I have myself heard him do so-' We will now leave that to the calculators.' So long as we are content to be regarded as mere calculators we shall be . . . Pariahs." One of the remarks above is repeated in the form: "This is another example of the law in Heuristic that the whole is easier of deglutition than its part." "One is surprised to reflect on the change which has come over the face of Algebra in the last quarter of a century. It is now possible to enlarge to an almost unlimited extent on any branch of it. These thirty lectures . . . might be compared to an unfinished epic in thirty cantos. Does it not seem as if Algebra had attained to the character of a fine art, in which the workman has a free hand to develop his conceptions as in a musical theme or a subject for painting? Formerly it consisted almost exclusively of detached theorems, but now-a-days it has reached a point to which every properly developed algebraical composition, like a skilful landscape, is expected to suggest the notion of an infinite distance lying beyond the limits of the canvas." "I am not one of those who look upon analysis as only valuable for the positive results to which it leads, and who regard proofs as almost a superfluity, thinking it sufficient that mathematical formulae should be obtained, no matter how, and duly entered on a register. ... It is scarcely possible that a well-reasoned mathematical proof shall not contain within itself subordinate theorems-germs of thought of intrinsic value and capable of extended application." "Thus a theorem of pure form is brought to depend on considerations of greater and less, or as we may express it, Quality is made to stoop its neck to the levelling yoke of Quantity." These random quotations may perhaps send some of our younger members to the pages of the four volumes. Even if the memoirs are over the heads of a reader, he will find purple patches and every now and then catch a glimpse of the matchless fire and inspiring enthusiasm of this great personality. We cannot conclude, however, without quoting the final passages of Mr. Baker's tribute: " He was, however, before all an abstract thinker, his admiration was ever for intellectual triumphs, his constant worship was of the things of the mind. This it was which seems to have impressed those who knew him personally. And because of this, his work will endure, according to its value-mingling with the stream fed by the toil of ilnumerable men-of which the issue is as the source. He is of those to whom it is given to renew in us the sanity which is called faith."
doi:10.2307/3603335 fatcat:5p7zyd6vezffvjwiaqg2smgfia