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The Calculus of Friendship by Steven Strogatz

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Relativity (1977)

The theory of relativity is founded on empathy. Not empathy in the ordinary emotional sense; empathy in a rigorous scientific sense. The crucial idea is to imagine how things would appear to someone who’s moving in a different way than you are.

At a time when it seemed absurd to claim that the earth moves around the sun, Galileo asked doubters to imagine being confined below deck in an enormous ship. There are no portholes in your cabin, no way to see the coastline passing by. If the sea is calm and the boat is gliding straight ahead at a steady speed, how could you tell you are moving? You couldn’t. Any observation you’d make ...

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