With arithmetic the Creator adjusted the World to unity, with geometry he balanced the design to give it stability….
—Nicholas of Cusa, Of Learned Ignorance (1440)
I omit their [astronomers’] vain disputes about Eccentricks, Concentricks, Epicycles, Retrogradations, Tripidations, accessus, recessus, swift motions and circles of motion, as being the works neither of God nor Nature, but the Fiddle-Faddles and Trifles of Mathematicians.
—Henry Cornelius Agrippa, Of the Vanity and Uncertainties of Arts and Sciences (1531)
As the epigraphs illustrate, the role of mathematics as an aid to understanding ...