Conservation of Nonsenseness

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In mathematics you don’t understand things. You just get used to them.

— John von Neumann

With mathematics, most people associate some perfection, correctness, completeness, rigor, definite truth. And also dryness. And all this is true for the end result. But the way mathematics is done is completely different. It is very vague, based on strange intuitions, filled with a very creative/lively/vague/sketchy/indistinct/fuzzy language. Mathematicians talking about math is like finding your way through the dark, it means erratic discussions, often with misunderstandings between the participants, sometimes with silences in-between, with murmuring, sketching, sighing, drinking coffee, completely doubting your abilities or even life. Of course mostly standing in front of a blackboard, staring at it. And once you actually have a sound, reasonable conjecture about something, it still might be a loooooooong way to get to a rigorous proof!

PS: The above picture shows a so-called continuity equation which for instance describes the conservation of mass in some physical system.

 

 

 

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