Commenting upon his analysis of experimental results from in-laboratory soap film formations, Courant believed that the existence of a physical solution does not obviate the need for mathematical proof. Here is a quote from Courant on his mathematical perspective:
“Empirical evidence can never establish mathematical existence–nor can the mathematician’s demand for existence be dismissed by the physicist as useless rigor. Only a mathematical existence proof can ensure that the mathematical description of a physical phenomenon is meaningful.” – Richard Courant
Richard Courant (January 8, 1888 – January 27, 1972) was a German mathematician. He is best known by the general public for the book What is Mathematics?, co-written with Herbert Robbins, which was praised by Albert Einstein, stating, “A lucid representation of the fundamental concepts and methods of the whole field of mathematics…Easily understandable.”
In 1936, after one year at Cambridge Courant accepted a professorship at New York University in New York City. There he founded an institute for graduate studies in applied mathematics. The Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences (as it was renamed in 1964) is now one of the most respected research centers in applied mathematics.
Read more & Watch the video: