Thurston on Mathematics

Source: AMS, Apr 1994

It may sound almost circular to say that what mathematicians are accomplishing is to advance human understanding of mathematics. I will not try to resolve this by discussing what mathematics is, because it would take us far afield.

Mathematicians generally feel that they know what mathematics is, but find it difficult to give a good direct definition. It is interesting to try. For me, “the theory of formal patterns” has come the closest …


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