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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday Musing

"The fact is, though, that I have come to a point where my wonderment and fascination with the meaning and purpose, if any, of this strange activity we call mathematics is equal to, sometimes even stronger than, my fascination with actually doing mathematics. I find mathematics an infinitely complex and mysterious world; exploring it is an addiction from which I hope never to be cured. In this, I am a mathematician like all others. But in addition, I have developed a second half, an Other, who watches this mathematician with amazement, and is even more fascinated that such a creature and such a strange activity have come into the world, and persisted for thousands of years....

"If you do mathematics every day, it seems the most natural thing in the world. If you stop to think about what you are doing and what it means, it seems one of the most mysterious. How are we able to tell about things no one has ever seen, and understand them better than the solid objects of daily life? Why is Euclidian geometry still correct, while Aristotelian physics is dead long since? What do we know in mathematics and how do we know it?

-- From "The Mathematical Experience" by Philip Davis and Reuben Hersh

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