Purdue University
Purdue Links Purdue Home | Purdue Search | Visit Purdue| Giving
Image Spacer
Purdue Winer Memorial Lectures: New Perspectives on Human Problem Solving



People Involved




Travel and Lodging



Contact Us

Purdue University

A Little Trivia...

Bernard Bolzano

Bernard Bolzano

Bolzano is credited for coining the term "heuristic".

The number of circumstances which accompany every event, including the event E which is to be explained, is infinite. Hence it happens only too frequently that in spite of careful attention we fail to see just those circumstances which are required to find the true cause. Among the large number of perceptions it is difficult enough to find those which occured in all or most cases where E took place. It is even more difficult to remember precisely whether these perceptions have been found together on other occasions although E did not follow...Given these difficulties, it is desirable to know some rules which would shorten and facilitate this work somewhat.

- Heuretic, 1837

George Pólya

Pólya elaborated Bolzano's ideas in teaching students how to solve math problems.

If you have to prove a theorem, do not rush. First of all, understand fully what the theorem says, try to see clearly what it means. Then check the theorem; it could be false. Examine the consequences, verify as many particular instances as are needed to convince yourself of the truth. When you have satisfied yourself that the theorem is true, you can start proving it.

- 1945

George Pólya

purdue homepage purdue search purdue maps purdue directories Copyright © 2003, Purdue University, all rights reserved. An equal access/equal opportunity university.
Purdue Disclaimer Nondiscrimination Policy