Ripening Creativity

“You know that I write slowly. This is chiefly because I am never satisfied until I have said as much as possible in a few words, and writing briefly takes far more time than writing at length.”    Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss

How true! Today, April 30, is Johann’s birthday. Known as ‘The Prince of Mathematics,” Johann was a child prodigy and went on to make major contributions to mathematics, geophysics and mechanics. He was born in 1777 to an illiterate mother. She never recorded his date of birth and one of his first discoveries as a child was working out the day he was born after being told it was on a Wednesday eight days before the Feast of the Ascension.

A child prodigy, he could add up all the numbers from one to 100 by the age of eight and made his first mathematical discoveries as a teenager. He completed his magnum opus, Disquisitiones Arithmeticae, at the age of 21 but it was not published until 1801.

Intrigued by a Google doodle, I decided to find out more about Johann. He did not disappoint: He had a far-ranging mind, a love of learning, and a every enlightened attitude toward women! He also had a poetic turn of phrase and  created his own personal motto (I love this – think I need one!): “Few, but ripe.” His second motto, borrowed from Shakespeare lurks below:

“It is not knowledge, but the act of learning, not possession but the act of getting there, which grants the greatest enjoyment.”

“Life stands before me like an eternal spring with new and brilliant clothes.”

“You have no idea how much poetry there is in the calculation of a table of logarithms!”

“If others would but reflect on mathematical truths as deeply and continuously as I have, they would make my discoveries.”

“The enchanting charms of this sublime science reveal [themselves] only to those who have the courage to go deeply into it.”

“When I have exhausted and clarified a subject, then I turn away from it in order to go into darkness again.“

[On Sophie Germain]: “When a person of the sex which, according to our customs and prejudices, must encounter infinitely more difficulties than men … succeeds nevertheless in surmounting these obstacles and penetrates the most obscure parts of [number theory], then without doubt she must have the noblest courage, quite extraordinary talents and superior genius.”

“Thou, nature, art my goddess; to thy laws my services are bound…” {His second motto, from King Lear)

Inspired and energized by this creative, poetic man of math, let’s all write on!

About karinwritesdangerously

I am a writer and this is a motivational blog designed to help both writers and aspiring writers to push to the next level. Key themes are peak performance, passion, overcoming writing roadblocks, juicing up your creativity, and the joys of writing.
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