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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/116

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Now about the work of your son. If I begin by saying that I dare not praise it, you will doubtless be startled for a moment. But I can not do otherwise. To praise it would be to praise myself, for the entire contents of the paper, the path which your son has pursued and the results which he has reached agree almost throughout with my own meditations, entertained by me in part since 30-35 years. By this I am surprised to the highest degree. It was my intention, during my lifetime to publish nothing of my own work, of which but little has thus far been put down on paper. Most people do not have the proper appreciation of the subject in hand and I have found only a few people who

PSM V81 D116 Statue of gauss on the potsdamer bridge in berlin.png

The Statue of Gauss on the Potsdamer Bridge in Berlin.

receive with interest the things I tell them. To be able to do so, one must have felt vividly what has been wanting, and on this point most people are quite in the dark. But it was my intention, some time to write down everything, so that it would not eventually perish with me. I am greatly surprised that I am saved this trouble and it is most pleasing to me that it is the son of my old friend who has anticipated me in such a remarkable way.

Would that all men of science could show the generosity toward rivals in matters of priority that Gauss showed toward John Bolyai. Gauss recognized the genius of Bolyai, gave him full credit for what he had done and gave up his own plans of preparing a paper on the new geometry.