"He tortured and tormented Quantities in all possible ways - to make them confess their Secrets, and discover their Properties"

To strike out new lights, to adventure where no footsteps had ever been set before… this is the noblest Endowment that a human Mind is capable of.
-1736, Sir Isaac's Method of Fluxions and Infinite series Preface

I was going through L’Ptal’s book, (preface; cant find whole) which of course is interesting, but was incredibly struck with his first two postulates – 1) that all curves are just polygons with infinite sides. It means no wonder you can find a tangent to some point on a curve to guess how it’s changing, because the whole curve is nothing but infinite tangents. More over, what does that say about other curves, radiation?

I began to think about photons, and surfaces in general. All surfaces are ‘clouds’ of electrons, there is no solid edge. The beauty of the world around us is nothing touches ever, and this explains the mystery of magnets acting at a distance – it always acts this way, it’s just the distance is so small we can’t see it. But perhaps this gives new light to another particle theory for promoting radiation of the electromagnetic spectrum. If electrons are clouds, photons ‘packets of energy’.. these curves representing their boundaries or gradations of influence can be thought of as polygons infinitely small.



ps –another neat thing in the Newton preface is they don’t talk of calculus but the ‘philosophy of quantity’ – now that is interesting. The philosophy of quantity! Who talks like that! Crazy. And that makes it much more interesting. Quantity rules the universe, we have our own unconscious mechanism of gauging it – the philosophy of it is certainly worth a peek-see. also listen to this language!

" He had acquired a complete knowledge of the Philosophy of Quantity, or of its most essential and most general Laws; had considered it in all views, had pursued it through all its disguises, and had traced it through all its Labyrinths and Recesses; in a word, it may be said of him not improperly, that he tortured and tormented Quantities in all possible ways - to make them confess their Secrets, and discover their Properties. "

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