Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

The play of symbols

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There are moments in the history of the sciences and, perhaps, of society, when the spirit is sustained and carried forward by the words and the symbols it has created, and when generalizations present themselves with the least effort…It is often said an equation contains only what one has put into it. It is easy to answer, first, that the new form under which one finds the things constitutes often of itself an important discovery. But sometimes there is more; analysis, by the simple play of its symbols, may suggest generalizations far surpassing the primitive outline.

Émile Picard, “On the Development of Mathematical Analysis”

Written by nevalalee

November 24, 2018 at 7:30 am

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