"A number of years ago, in a public debate on the subject [of the true significance of mathematical investigation], I said that I could imagine an alien encounter during which, in response to learning of our scientific theories, the aliens remark, "Oh, math. Yeah, we tried that for a while. At first it seemed promising, but ultimately it was a dead end. Here, let us show you how it really works."  .  .  .  I don’t know how the aliens would actually finish the sentence, and with a broad enough definition of mathematics (e.g., logical deductions following from a set of assumptions), I’m not even sure what kind of answers wouldn’t amount to math."


                                           -Brian Greene in The Hidden Reality

 

"A number of years ago, in a public debate on the subject [of the true significance of mathematical investigation], I said that I could imagine an alien encounter during which, in response to learning of our scientific theories, the aliens remark, "Oh, math. Yeah, we tried that for a while. At first it seemed promising, but ultimately it was a dead end. Here, let us show you how it really works."  .  .  .  I don’t know how the aliens would actually finish the sentence, and with a broad enough definition of mathematics (e.g., logical deductions following from a set of assumptions), I’m not even sure what kind of answers wouldn’t amount to math."

                                           -Brian Greene in The Hidden Reality

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