Quotes from Honors Linear Algebra, Fall 2004.

• "You just know these n values, and now you know everything!"
• "It's good, but it's not Sundae Friday good."
• "I guess I'll call this a 'fact'."
• "There are lots of things that are obvious that are not true."
• "There are terrifying lows and dizzying highs in linear algebra."
• "We've basically done nothing. We'll do more nothing later."
• "The tricky part is struggling to figure out why what I say is not stupid."
• "This statement is practically content-free."
• "Mathematicians don't have friends." / "They do! They have mathematician friends!"
• "Mathematicians are handy 'cause we understand math."
• "Why does the power series of cosθ turn out to be 2π periodic? That's BAFFLING!"
• "I'm gonna try to go the rest of the class without saying or writing anything that's wrong."
• "You run into trouble here if you think too much."
• "Basically the problem is that infinity is weird."
• "See if you can use this proof to show the square root of three is irrational. Then try the square root of four. If it works, you did something wrong."
• "What's similar about them is that they're similar."
• "Physists use all these different colors... we don't go for that cutesy crap. We have one word and we stick with it." --on the definition of "normal"
• "In fact... if I wanted, I could write everything on the board as "X" and it would still make sense to me."
• "If you get hung up on actual definitions you'll be in trouble."
• "The best part about math is that, if you have the right answer and someone disagrees with you, it really is because they're stupid." --on why math is better than politics
• "You could plug ANYTHING in here, it doesn't matter." / "So I could plug 'your mom' in there?" / "... ...no... that doesn't work for a number of reasons. The big problem is that your mom is not part of our vector space. ... ... I should have just stayed away from this one."
• If x is a man ice cream, then x is a person a delicious dairy treat.
• "They sound worse than they are... I think it's because they have this German name." --on eigenvectors
• "Then all you have to do is find the roots of a polynomial, which is, in general, impossible."
• "They are locked in what you might call a DEATH SPIRAL."
• "This is jail for chalk. It is not a reward."
• Jim: "It's child's play!"
Student: "Then how come they don't teach it in preschool?"
Jim: "It's not FUN child's play. *thinks for a moment* Actually it's kinda fun, if you're into that stuff."
• "You... have a shaky grasp on theology.
• "Turns out there are a lot of real numbers."
• "I was hoping we'd get through one day without the misogynistic comments..."
• "I did this in advance, so you shouldn't be intimidated.
• "A lot of math is seeing patterns and then guessing that they might always be true." / "And then you're done?" / "No, that's physics."
• "[By wearing pants] you're kind of admitting that it's cold outside. You're also kind of admitting that you have a real job." --a reason for wearing shorts on December 1
• "You know the chalk can't hear me, right?"
• "Our cup runneth over here." / "Say that again." / "I'm not gonna."
• "Can't win, don't try."
• "If someone asks you to orthogonally diagonalize a matrix that's not symmetric, you should spit in their face."