Gel’fand’s Quote

This is taken from The Method of Coordinates by I. M. Gel’fand
E.G. Glagoleva A.A. Kirillov

Of course, it was not our intention that aIl these
students who studied from these books or even
completed the School should choose mathematics as
their future career. Nevertheless, no matter what they
would later choose, the results of this training re­
mained with them. For many, this had been their first
experience in being able to do something on their own
— completely independently.

1 would like to make one comment here. Sorne of my
American colleagues have explained to me that
American students are not really accustomed to think­
ing and working hard, and for this reason we must
make the material as attractive as possible. Permit me
to not completely agree with this opinion. From my
long experience with young students aU over the
world 1 know that they are curious and inquisitive and
1 beIieve that if they have sorne clear mate rial pre­
sented in a simple form, they will prefer this to aIl
artificial means of attracting their attention — much as
one ,buys books for their content and not for their
dazzling jacket designs that engage only for the

The most important thing a student can get from the
study of mathematics is the attainment of a higher
intellectualleveL In this light 1would like to point out
as an example the famous American physicist and
teacher Richard Feynman who succeeded in writing
both his popular books and scientific works in a
simple and attractive manner.

I. M. Gel’fand

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