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The Immense Book

Philosophy is written in this immense book that stands ever open before our eyes (I speak of the Universe), but it cannot be read if one does not first learn the language and recognize the characters in which it is written. It is written in mathematical language, and the characters are triangles, circles, and other geometrical figures, without the means of which it is humanly impossible to understand a word; without these philosophy is confused wandering in a dark labyrinth.
   —Galileo Galilei, Il Saggiatore(The Assayer) in Opere, v. 6, p. 197,translation by Julian Barbour

From Neal Stephenson’s great book: Quicksilver

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