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Euler's Gem by David S. Richeson

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INTRODUCTION

Philosophy is written in this grand book—I mean the universe—which stands continually open to our gaze, but it cannot be understood unless one first learns to comprehend the language and interpret the characters in which it is written. It is written in the language of mathematics, and its characters are triangles, circles, and other geometrical figures, without which it is humanly impossible to understand a single word of it; without these one is wandering about in a dark labyrinth.—Galileo Galilei1

They all missed it. The ancient Greeks—mathematical luminaries such as Pythagoras, Theaetetus, Plato, Euclid, and Archimedes, who were infatuated with polyhedra—missed it. Johannes Kepler, the great astronomer, so in awe of the beauty ...

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