Wednesday, April 9, 2014

astro picture for the day / G. Lame quote

Credit: ESO(European southern Observatory)

This is a supernova remnant with a chance alignment with a star.

"Should anyone find it singular that we have been able to found a Course of Mathematics on the sole concept of a system of coordinates, he may be reminded that it is preciselly these systems which characterize the phases and stages of science. Without the invention of rectangular coordinates, algebra might still be where Diophantus and his commentators left it, and we should lack both the infinitesimal calculus and analytic mechanics. Without the introduction of spherical coordinates, celestial mechanics would be absolutely impossible; and without elliptic coordinates, illustrious mathematicians would have been unable to solve several important problems of this theory . . . . Subsequently the reign of general curvilinear coordinates supervened, and these alone are capable of attacking the new problems[of mathematical physics] in all their generality. Yes, this definitive epoch will arrive, but tardily: those who first recognized these new implements will have ceased to exist and will be completely forgotten-unless some archaeological mathematician revives their names. Well, what of it, provided science has advanced?" - G. Lame(French)

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