60+ Brilliant Math Quotes Every Teacher Needs to Read
Math is beautiful. But sometimes, this can be hard to see, and even harder to convey to students who don’t — yet — share your passion.
In addition to math books, using math quotes in your daily instruction is one of many ways to get students excited about this oft-dreaded subject.
Over the centuries, some of the world’s brightest minds have shared wise words that remain relevant to this day! We’ve compiled a list of our favorite quotes about math for teachers and students alike!
Inspire, motivate, and humor your students with these math quotes!
Famous math quotes
Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.
— Albert Einstein, German theoretical physicist
Without mathematics, there’s nothing you can do. Everything around you is mathematics. Everything around you is numbers.
— Shakuntala Devi, Indian writer and mental calculator
Mathematics is the most beautiful and most powerful creation of the human spirit.
— Stefan Banach, Polish mathematician
We will always have STEM with us. Some things will drop out of the public eye and go away, but there will always be science, engineering, and technology. And there will always, always be mathematics.
— Katherine Johnson, African-American mathematician
Mathematics as an expression of the human mind reflects the active will, the contemplative reason, and the desire for aesthetic perfection. Its basic elements are logic and intuition, analysis and construction, generality and individuality.
— Richard Courant, German-American mathematician
As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.
— Albert Einstein
What is mathematics? It is only a systematic effort of solving puzzles posed by nature.
— Shakuntala Devi
Mathematics is the music of reason.
— James Joseph Sylvester, English mathematician
Mathematics knows no races or geographic boundaries; for mathematics, the cultural world is one country.
— David Hilbert, German mathematician
There should be no such thing as boring mathematics.
— Edsger W. Dijkstra, Dutch systems scientist
‘Obvious’ is the most dangerous word in mathematics.
— Eric Temple Bell, Scottish mathematician
Mathematics are the result of mysterious powers which no one understands, and which the unconscious recognition of beauty must play an important part. Out of an infinity of designs a mathematician chooses one pattern for beauty’s sake and pulls it down to earth.
— Marston Morse, American mathematician
Mathematics allows for no hypocrisy and no vagueness.
— Stendhal (pen name of Marie-Henri Beyle), French writer
I’ve always enjoyed mathematics. It is the most precise and concise way of expressing an idea.
— N.R. Narayana Murthy, Indian IT industrialist
It is impossible to be a mathematician without being a poet in soul.
— Sofia Kovalevskaya, Russian mathematician
A mathematician who is not also something of a poet will never be a complete mathematician.
— Karl Weierstrass, German mathematician
Mathematics compares the most diverse phenomena and discovers the secret analogies that unite them.
— Joseph Fourier, French mathematician and physicist
Mathematics is not about numbers, equations, computations, or algorithms: it is about understanding.
— William Paul Thurston, American mathematician
Somehow it’s okay for people to chuckle about not being good at math. Yet, if I said “I never learned to read,” they’d say I was an illiterate dolt.
— Neil deGrasse Tyson, American astrophysicist and author
In mathematics the art of proposing a question must be held of higher value than solving it.
— Georg Cantor, German mathematician
It is clear that the chief end of mathematical study must be to make the students think.
— John Wesley Young, American mathematician
Go down deep enough into anything and you will find mathematics.
— Dean Schlicter
Nature is written in mathematical language.
— Galileo Galilei, Italian astronomer, physicist and engineer
Mathematics is a language.
— Josiah Willard Gibbs, American scientist
Inspirational math quotes
Mathematics has beauty and romance. It’s not a boring place to be, the mathematical world. It’s an extraordinary place; it’s worth spending time there.
— Marcus du Sautoy, British mathematician
To me, mathematics, computer science, and the arts are insanely related. They’re all creative expressions.
— Sebastian Thrun, German innovator, computer scientist and entrepreneur educator
The essence of mathematics lies in its freedom.
— Georg Cantor
Why do children dread mathematics? Because of the wrong approach. Because it is looked at as a subject.
— Shakuntala Devi
Many who have had an opportunity of knowing any more about mathematics confuse it with arithmetic, and consider it an arid science. In reality, however, it is a science which requires a great amount of imagination.
— Sofia Kovalevskaya
The study of mathematics, like the Nile, begins in minuteness but ends in magnificence.
— Charles Caleb Colton, English cleric, writer and collector
Wherever there is number, there is beauty.
— Proclus, Greek philosopher
Life is a math equation. In order to gain the most, you have to know how to convert negatives into positives.
Mathematics may not teach us to add love or subtract hate, but it gives us hope that every problem has a solution.
One of the endlessly alluring aspects of mathematics is that its thorniest paradoxes have a way of blooming into beautiful theories.
— Philip J. Davis, American academic applied mathematician
Mathematics is not a careful march down a well-cleared highway, but a journey into a strange wilderness, where the explorers often get lost. Rigor should be a signal to the historians that the maps have been made, and the real explorers have gone elsewhere.
— W.S. Anglin, Mathematics author
The pure mathematician, like the musician, is a free creator of his world of ordered beauty.
— Bertrand Russell, British philosopher
Motivational math quotes
Just because we can’t find a solution, it doesn’t mean there isn’t one.
— Andrew Wiles, English mathematician
Mathematics is a place where you can do things which you can’t do in the real world.
— Marcus du Sautoy
Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton asked why.
— Bernard Baruch, American financier, philanthropist and statesman
The definition of a good mathematical problem is the mathematics it generates rather than the problem itself.
— Andrew Wiles
If I were again beginning my studies, I would follow the advice of Plato and start with mathematics.
— Galileo Galilei
Pure mathematicians just love to try unsolved problems — they love a challenge.
— Andrew Wiles
I’ve always been interested in using mathematics to make the world work better.
— Alvin E. Roth, American academic
I hope that seeing the excitement of solving this problem will make mathematicians realize that there are lots and lots of other problems in mathematics which are going to be just as challenging in the future.
— Andrew Wiles
The only way to learn mathematics is to do mathematics.
— Paul R. Halmos, Hungarian-American mathematician
It’s fine to work on any problem, so long as it generates interesting mathematics along the way — even if you don’t solve it at the end of the day.
— Andrew Wiles
You don’t have to be a mathematician to have a feel for numbers.
— John Forbes Nash, Jr., American mathematician
Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.
— Dr. Seuss, American children’s author
The essence of math is not to make simple things complicated, but to make complicated things simple.
— Stan Gudder, American mathematician
Funny math quotes
If people do not believe that mathematics is simple, it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is.
— John von Neumann, American-hungarian mathematician
Mathematics is a game played according to certain simple rules with meaningless marks on paper.
— David Hilbert
Dear Math, please grow up and solve your own problems. I’m tired of solving them for you.
I am still waiting for the day I’ll use mathematics integration in real life.
— Derrick Obedgiu
Arithmetic is numbers you squeeze from your head to your hand to your pencil to your paper till you get the answer.
— Carl Sandburg, American poet
That awkward moment when you finish a math problem and your answer isn’t even one of the choices.
— Ritu Ghatourey, Indian feminist, writer and publisher
Mathematics is like love; a simple idea, but it can get complicated.
If there is a 50-50 chance that something can go wrong, then nine times out of 10 it will.
— Paul Harvey, American radio broadcaster
Math is fun. It teaches you life and death information like when you’re cold, you should go to a corner since it’s 90 degrees there.
Pure mathematics is the world’s best game. It is more absorbing than chess, more of a gamble than poker, and lasts longer than Monopoly. It’s free. It can be played anywhere — Archimedes did it in a bathtub.
— Richard J. Trudeau, mathematician
Mathematics consists of proving the most obvious thing in the least obvious way.
— George Pólya, Hungarian mathematician
In mathematics, you don’t understand things. You just get used to them.
— John von Neumann
There are two ways to do great mathematics. The first is to be smarter than everybody else. The second way is to be stupider than everybody else — but persistent.
— Raoul Bott, Hungarian-American mathematician
Five out of four people have trouble with fractions.
— Steven Wright, American stand-up comedian
Mathematics is a hard thing to love. It has the unfortunate habit, like a rude dog, of turning its most unfavorable side towards you when you first make contact with it.
— David Whiteland, English author
How to use these math quotes in your class
Sixty-plus quotes is a lot to get through! And like our teacher quotes blog post outlines, it can be 1) overwhelming to consider them all at once, and 2) easy to read a quote and become inspired, only to promptly forget about it.
So, how can you internalize your favorite math quotes and make them actionable?
- Write or type your favorite quote(s) about math in your planner, so you look at it regularly.
- Put it on a cue card or post-it note. Make two copies for your mirror and side table, so you see it when you wake up and before you go to sleep.
- Brainstorm and reflect on ways you can apply the quote’s meaning in your everyday life.
To take it a step further, how can these math quotes help your students love learning math?
- Have each of your students choose their favorite quote from this list and post them somewhere, like a classroom bulletin board.
- Personalize assignment or test marking with a quote you feel will resonate with each student.
- Put the most relevant quotes around your class, to remind students about the beauty of math on a daily basis.
Show me my posters! 👏
We’ve chosen 10 math quotes and turned them into posters you can use to decorate your classroom. Click here to download your free posters!
On teaching with math quotes
Teaching math is no easy feat. Whether you want to revitalize your passion for math, or seek to motivate and inspire your students, we hope these math quotes find you at the right time. It’s amazing the power a seemingly simple quote can have!