47 Terence Tao Quotes from the Mozart of Math

Terence Tao is a mathematician who was born in Australia and raised in the United States.


Top 10 Terence Tao Quotes


Math research is more like a marathon. ~ Terence Tao.


I always liked situations where there were very clear rules of what to do. ~ Terence Tao.


Talent is important, but how one develops and nurtures it is even more so. ~ Terence Tao.


I always liked numbers. ~ Terence Tao.


Most of what I do does not save lives. ~ Terence Tao.


I tend to change research direction every few years or so. ~ Terence Tao.


I enjoy a good meal, a good vacation, or a good movie, much as anyone else would. ~ Terence Tao.


I don’t have any magical ability. I look at a problem, play with it, work out a strategy. ~ Terence Tao.


If I experiment enough, I get a deeper understanding. ~ Terence Tao.


When you’re concentrating hard, hours can fly by, and it’s just you and a math problem. ~ Terence Tao.

Famous Terence Tao Quotes

Most students who take math classes aren’t going to be mathematicians. They’re going to be engineers, statisticians – in many ways, that’s the more important mission of math education. ~ Terence Tao.


I recall being fascinated by numbers even at age three and viewed their manipulation as a kind of game. ~ Terence Tao.

If there is something that I should know how to do but don’t, it bugs me. I feel like I have to sit down and work out exactly what the problem is. ~ Terence Tao.

I often don’t know what I’ll be working on next year or a year from now. There is often a chance meeting, or something that I worked on 10 years ago suddenly becomes important again. ~ Terence Tao.


A lot of the math that I do, it’s not sort of premeditated. I talk online or with a colleague, and I get interested, and I just follow where it leads. ~ Terence Tao.

I still remember the realization in college at Flinders University in Australia that mathematics was not just an abstract game of symbols but could be used as a tool to analyze and understand the modern world. ~ Terence Tao.

Can you make fancy patterns of water that actually have some computation power? I’m betting that fluids are complex enough to do this. ~ Terence Tao.


I think one nice thing about mathematics is that we don’t really have one prize that dominates all the others, like the Nobel prizes. ~ Terence Tao.

At a purely formal level, one could call probability theory the study of measure spaces with total measure one, but that would be like calling number theory the study of strings of digits which terminate. ~ Terence Tao.

You want to get to the top of the cliff. But that’s not what you focus on immediately. You focus on the next ledge just beyond your reach, because you need to do one clever thing to get up there. And then, once you get there, you do it again. A lot of this is rather boring and not very glamorous. But you can’t jump cliffs in a single bound. ~ Terence Tao.

Best Terence Tao Quotes


It was traditional to not actually cash the prizes that Erdos did award while he was alive. People usually framed the cheque instead. ~ Terence Tao.

When I was seven or eight, whenever I was getting too rowdy at night, my parents would give me a maths workbook to work on to quieten me down. ~ Terence Tao.

Pointing out that countless great mathematicians had tried to solve the problem and failed before you came along is in particularly bad taste and should be avoided completely. ~ Terence Tao.


I remember having this vague idea that what mathematicians did was that some authority, someone, gave them problems to solve, and they just sort of solved them. ~ Terence Tao.

I have been lucky to find very good collaborators who have taught me a lot, have introduced me to several new fields of mathematics, or have shown me new insights. ~ Terence Tao.

Math education has changed over the years. In the 19th century, they taught spherical trigonometry because one of the biggest applications of mathematics was navigating the ocean. This is no longer so relevant. ~ Terence Tao.


Education is a complex, multifaceted, and painstaking process, and being gifted does not make this less so. ~ Terence Tao.

My life is more than just my work. I am a husband and a father and a proud citizen of two countries: my homeland of Australia and my adopted country here in the United States. ~ Terence Tao.

Popular Terence Tao Quotes


There might be a hidden structure in pi that we simply haven’t discovered. ~ Terence Tao.

What interests me is the connection between maths and the real world. ~ Terence Tao.


Volume grows spatially slower than scaling. ~ Terence Tao.

Mathematical problems, or puzzles, are important to real mathematics (like solving real-life problems), just as fables, stories and anecdotes are important to the young in understanding real life. ~ Terence Tao.

The accuracy of Wikipedia can be dodgy in some places, but in maths, it’s really quite good. ~ Terence Tao.


Mathematicians are fairly cheap. ~ Terence Tao.

Research sometimes feels like an ongoing TV series in which some amazing revelations have already been made, but there are still plenty of cliff-hangers and unresolved plotlines that you want to see resolved. But unlike TV, we have to do the work ourselves to figure out what happens next. ~ Terence Tao.

Great Terence Tao Quotes

Ultimately you should follow advice not because someone tells you to, but because it was something that you already knew you should be doing. ~ Terence Tao.

The standard high school curriculum traditionally has been focused towards physics and engineering. So calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra have always been the most emphasized, and for good reason – these are very important. ~ Terence Tao.


I was never very good at school with… humanities… anything which was more a matter of opinion. ~ Terence Tao.

One can think of any given axiom system as being like a computer with a certain limited amount of memory or processing power. One could switch to a computer with even more storage, but no matter how large an amount of storage space the computer has, there will still exist some tasks that are beyond its ability. ~ Terence Tao.

Thought-Provoking Terence Tao Quotes

Unsolicited surprise requests from strangers are essentially guaranteed to be met with a negative response. ~ Terence Tao.


For me, I guess the main motivation is the satisfaction of finally understanding some tricky mathematical concept or phenomenon and then explaining it to others. ~ Terence Tao.

I don’t like accepting things at face value. ~ Terence Tao. It is very humbling to receive the Fields Medal. The words of a Fields Medallist carry a lot of weight within mathematics – for instance, in framing future directions of research – which means that I have to watch what I say more carefully now! ~ Terence Tao.

So these were the 47 top Terence Tao quotes and sayings.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Edward Thorndike quotes and Eric Idle quotes.

Share with others!
Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar