What attracted me so strongly and exclusively to mathematics, apart from the actual content, was particularly the specific nature of the mental processes by which mathematical concepts are handled. This way of deducing and discovering new truths from old ones, and the extraordinary clarity and self-evidence of the theorems, the ingeniousness of the ideas ... had an irresistible fascination for me. Beginning from the individual theorems, I grew accustomed to delve more deeply into their relationships and to grasp whole theories as a single entity. That is how I conceived the idea of mathematical beauty.
German mathematician, 1823 - 1852