I puzzle a lot over the elements.  We know that they are differentiated by the number of protons in their atoms: hydrogen has one, zirconium forty, gold seventy-nine, nickel twenty-eight and so on.  Yet how can merely numerical differentiation produce their extraordinarily different qualities, most especially their wonderfully pure colours which give me, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this, such an extraordinarily pure joy?  In fact science always does this.  It is accompanied by a discovering joy that it itself cannot explain.   I wonder more and more whether the neo-Platonists of the Italian Renaissance, one of whom was Galileo, got it right.  Mathematics isn’t just counting.  It is the Divine Wisdom,  the feminine force that creates the universe,  Venus rising from the waves.   Botticelli thought so and I think Galileo did too. 


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