Leonardo da Vinci

“The object that strikes the air develops a force equal to that of the air that strikes the object. Observe how the beating of its wings against the air suffices to bear up the weight of the eagle in the highest and thinnest air. Observe too that, conversely, the air fills the sails and pushes the heavily laden ship. From this you can understand that man, with great wings, acting against the resistance of air, might overcome it victoriously and rise above it,”

Leonardo da Vinci

Lucasian Professor George Gabriel Stokes

“I was capable of being moved, mathematically, as it were, by the belief that a particular course was right; and I do believe that God put these views in my mind, working by means of that which was in me to supply that which was wanting,”

Lucasian Professor George Gabriel Stokes

“Then it is right that you should even now draw back, nor heed though I should go to the grave a thinking machine unenlivened and uncheered and unwarmed by the happiness of domestic affection,” (on receiving reply of his 55 page essay to his future wife on why they should not be marreid)

Lucasian Professor George Gabriel Stokes

Leonardo da Vinci

“The great bird will take its first flight on the back of a great swan; filling the universe with wonders; filling all writings with its fame and bringing eternal glory to the nest from which it came,”

Leonardo da Vinci


The Reynolds equations are still a riddle. They are based on the Navier-Stokes equations, which are still a mystery. The Navier-Stokes equations are a viscous regularization of the Euler equations, which are still an enigma. Turbulence is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

~Constatin, P. “Euler equations, NSE and turbulence,” Mathematical Foundations of Turbulent Viscous Flows, Lecture notes in mathematics, 2006. pp. 1-43

Pierre-Simon Laplace

“Were she then to watch me live through it, she might smile condescendingly, as one who watches a marionette dance to the tugs of strings that it knows nothing about”

Causal Determinism, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2008 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.). Pierre-Simon Laplace

“The curve described by a simple molecule of air or vapor is regulated in a manner just as certain as the planetary orbits; the only difference between them is that which comes from our ignorance.”

Laplace, P., 1820, Essai Philosophique sur les Probabilits, Paris: V Courcier; repr. F.W. Truscott and F.L. Emory (trans.), A Philosophical Essay on Probabilities, New York: Dover, 1951. Pierre-Simon Laplace

“Je n’avais pas besoin de cette hypothèse-là”

Rouse Ball (1908) Pierre-Simon Laplace

“Lisez Euler, lisez Euler, c’est notre maître à tous.”

Dunham, William (1999). Euler: The Master of Us All. The Mathematical Association of America. xiii. Pierre-Simon Laplace

Leonhard Euler

  • “Mathematicians have tried in vain to this day to discover some order in the sequence of prime numbers, and we have reason to believe that it is a mystery into which the human mind will never penetrate.” Simmons, G., Calculus Gems (1992) Leonhard Euler
  • “God, when he created the world, arranged the course of all events so that every man should be every instant placed in circumstances to him most salutary. Happy the man who has wisdom to turn them to good account!” Letters to a Princess of Germany, 3 vols., (1768–1772) Leonhard Euler
  • “Now I will have less distraction. (upon losing vision)” Eves, H., In Mathematical Circles (1969) Leonhard Euler

John von Neumann

“Young man, in mathematics you don’t understand things. You just get used to them.” Zukav, G., The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics (1984) John von Neumann

Wernher von Braun

“Basic research is when I am doing what I don’t know what I am doing.” Simons, Y. R. M., “Work, Society, and Culture,” New York Times (1957) Wernher von Braun