The Queen of the Sciences

The Queen of the Sciences

The Queen of the Sciences

The Queen of the Sciences

Excerpt

"MATHEMATICS is queen of the sciences and arithmetic the queen of mathematics. She often condescends to render service to astronomy and other natural sciences, but under all circumstances the first place is her due."

So wrote the master mathematician, astronomer, and physicist, Gauss (1777-1855) over a century ago. Whether as history or prophecy, Gauss' declaration is far from an overstatement. Time after time in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, major scientific theories have come into being only because the very ideas in terms of which the theories have meaning were created by mathematicians years, or decades, or even centuries before anyone foresaw possible applications to science.

Without the geometry of Riemann, published in 1854, or without the theory of invariance developed by the mathematicians Cayley (1821- 1895), Sylvester (1814-1897), and a host of their followers, the general theory of relativity and gravitation of Einstein in 1916 could not have . . .

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