John Von Neumann:

"With four parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk"

"You wake me up early in the morning to tell me that I'm right? Please wait until I'm wrong.[Note: the phone call in question took place at about 9:30am.]

"There's no sense in being precise when you don't even know what you're talking about"

"There was a seminar for advanced students in Zürich that I was teaching and von Neumann was in the class. I came to a certain theorem, and I said it is not proved and it may be difficult. Von Neumann didn't say anything but after five minutes he raised his hand. When I called on him he went to the blackboard and proceeded to write down the proof. After that I was afraid of von Neumann." George Pólya, in How to Solve It (1957) 2nd ed

And the most intelligent of all:

"With the Russians it is not a question of whether but of when. […] If you say why not bomb them tomorrow, I say why not today? If you say today at 5 o'clock, I say why not one o'clock?"


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