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Computation, Proof, Machine by Marion Roman, Pierre Guillot, Gilles Dowek

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Chapter Thirteen Instruments

ASTRONOMERS used to observe the sky with the naked eye until, in the early seventeenth century, Galileo made his first telescope – or, as some historians would have it, simply pointed a spyglass skywards. Similarly, biologists originally observed living organisms with the naked eye until Anton van Leeuwenhoek started using a microscope. Thus, in the history of many sciences, there are two distinct periods, separated by the introduction of the science’s first instrument.

Until the seventies, mathematics was practically the only science not to use any instruments. Unlike their lab-coated colleagues, mathematicians only required a blackboard and some chalk to make their science progress. This peculiarity can be explained ...

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