David Berlinski

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 linksEdit

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