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The Princeton Companion to Mathematics by Imre Leader, June Barrow-Green, Timothy Gowers

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VIII.3 The Ubiquity of Mathematics

T. W. Körner

1 Introduction

We live surrounded by mathematics: when we open a door or use a nutcracker, we exploit ARCHIMEDES [VI.3] law of the lever; when a bus goes around the corner, we experience at first hand NEWTON’S [VI.14] law that a body continues to travel in uniform motion in a straight line unless acted on by an external force; when we use a rapidly accelerating elevator, we can feel for ourselves the equivalence of gravitational and accelerational inertia that lies at the heart of GENERAL RELATIVITY [IV.13]; and when we run a tap fast into a kitchen sink we see a thin and flat circle of water with a clear boundary, which is the chaotic “hydraulic jump” between two well-behaved solutions of a certain ...

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