Stavanger, Norway

Mathematics and Physics

Language: EnglishStudies in English
Subject area: mathematics and statistics
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Mathematics (from Greek μάθημα máthēma, "knowledge, study, learning") is the study of such topics as quantity, structure, space, and change. It has no generally accepted definition.
Physics (from Ancient Greek: φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), translit. physikḗ (epistḗmē), lit. 'knowledge of nature', from φύσις phýsis "nature") is the natural science that studies matter and its motion and behavior through space and time and that studies the related entities of energy and force. Physics is one of the most fundamental scientific disciplines, and its main goal is to understand how the universe behaves.
The final truth about a phenomenon resides in the mathematical description of it; so long as there is no imperfection in this, our knowledge of the phenomenon is complete. We go beyond the mathematical formula at our own risk; we may find a model or a picture which helps us understand it, but we have no right to expect this, and our failure to find such a model or picture need not indicate that either our reasoning or our knowledge is at fault. The making of models or pictures to explain mathematical formulas and the phenomena they describe is not a step towards, but a step away from reality; it is like making a graven image of a spirit.
Sir James Jeans, The Mysterious Universe (1930)
The science of mathematics presents the most brilliant example of how pure reason may successfully enlarge its domain without the aid of experience.
Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason (1781) Tr. Max Müller (1881) p. 610.
Mathematics is a versatile art; it can be applied to widely different purposes. Math has no morality; it does not care what it counts or what it proves.
Brian Stableford, Ashes and Tombstones, in Peter Crowther (ed.) Moon Shots (1999), reprinted in David G. Hartwell (ed.) Year's Best SF 5 (2000), p. 412
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