"I was interviewed in the Israeli Radio for five minutes and I said that more than 2000 years ago, Euclid proved that there are infinitely many primes. Immediately the host interrupted me and asked: 'Are there still infinitely many primes?'"
- Noga Alon

"Music is part of Number Theory. Nowadays when a number theorist applies for a grant, he says that it is good for security, but in those days, way before America, he would say that it's good for music. I will not comment whether we have progressed..."
- H. W. Lenstra Jr.

"Now, people ask me all the time how we got four surplus budgets in a row. What new ideas did we bring to Washington? I always give a one-word answer: Arithmetic." (Sustained cheers, applause.)
- Bill Clinton

"Everyone reacted differently to being spoken to in a language they didn't understand. Katya got quiet and scared. Ivan leaned forward with an amused expression. Grisha narrowed his eyes and nodded in a manner suggesting the dawn of comprehension. Boris, a bearded doctoral student, rifled guiltily through his notes like someone having a nightmare that he was already supposed to speak Russian."
- Elif Batuman, on learning

"Mathematics is like checkers in being suitable for the young, not too difficult, amusing, and without peril to the state."
- attributed to Plato

"I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks."
- Daniel Boone, on modular forms

"He wants to create a method of coding, but he doesn't know what to do so he makes a random code. Then he is stuck. And then he asks the impossible question, 'What would the average random code do?' He then proves that the average code is arbitrarily good, and that therefore there must be at least one good code. Who but a man of infinite courage could have dared to think those thoughts?"
- Richard Hamming, about Claude Shannon

"The mysteries of mathematics are degraded if they are made into an object of affirmation and negation, when in reality they should be an object of contemplation."
- adapted from Simone Weil

"In searching out the truth be ready for the unexpected, for it is difficult to find and puzzling when you find it."
- Heraclitus