Clippings on “the mystery of curves, the mystery of motion, the mystery of change… the unknown, and forever unknowable, value of π…”

The mathematics of complex nonlinear systems is discouraging. It seems like it will always be hard, if not impossible, for anyone to make headway on the most difficult problems… from the behavior of economies, societies, and cells to the workings of the immune system, genes, brains, and consciousness.

Most of everyday life is spectacularly nonlinear.

[But] chaotic systems are not random… they’re so sensitive to tiny disturbances that they look effectively random in many respects… Chaos may be reasonable deep down, deep in its heart, where it follows mathematical laws.

How could we, an insignificant species on an insignificant planet adrift in a middleweight galaxy, have managed to predict how space and time would tremble after two black holes collided in the vastness of the universe a billion light-years away?

The Infinity Principle: To shed light on any continuous shape, object, motion, process, or phenomenon, reimagine it as an infinite series of simpler parts, analyze those, and then add the results back together to make sense of the original whole.

[There is a] right aesthetic choice. Simple. Elegant. And minimal. The point is to find an elegant solution…

Because we were listening – and because we knew calculus – we understood what the soft whisper meant.