As part of my geography degree I am reading the book Computer Processing of Remotely-Sensed Images (very interesting, but quite mathematical in places). Anyway, in the front of this book there are two quotes. Not unusual you might think – but I find the quotes that have been used quite amusing.
“I hope that posterity will judge me kindly, not only as to the things which I have explained but also as to those which I have intentionally omitted so as to leave to others the pleasure of discovery.” (Descartes)
“I am none the wiser, but I am much better informed.” (Queen Victoria)
So basically what he’s saying is that (1) He’s deliberately left some things out so that you can have fun discovering them and (2) The book won’t make you any wiser, but it might inform you. As well as being amusing these also seem to have deeper truths for me. No academic book could have all the information the author knows in it, and anyway to be spoon-fed all of the information for a course is pointless: it is far more fun (and more educational) to discover it yourself. Also, the quote about widsom reminds me that when analysing remotely sensed images (which is what this book is about) one can know all the technical information about them that it is possible to know, but one still has use wisdom to decide exactly which processing operations to apply to them to get the best results.
In an interesting little addendum, my father pointed out that according to this website the source of the second quote was not Queen Victoria (as stated in the book) but Lord Birkenhead.