For the last 15 years the New York City subway has featured “Poetry in Motion”, which places extracts of poetry in subway cars. Starting next month this program will be expanded, joined by Train of Thought, which will add “short quotations in history, philosophy, literature, and science chosen by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.” I gather that my colleague Henry Pinkham, a mathematician now dean of the Graduate School, is responsible for this. Of the first two quotations to go up next month, one is dear to my heart, from Galileo:

### About

### Not Even Wrong: The Book

### Categories

- Book Reviews (59)
- BRST (12)
- Experimental HEP News (146)
- Langlands (22)
- Multiverse Mania (125)
- Not Even Wrong: The Book (27)
- Quantum Mechanics (10)
- Strings 2XXX (16)
- This Week's Hype (89)
- Uncategorized (1,135)

### Recent Comments

- Still Not Even Wrong 2

Shantanu, Shantanu - Fashion, Faith, and Fantasy 33

David Roberts, adamt, David Roberts, Curious Mayhem, adamt, Thomas [...] - This Week's Hype 24

Peter Woit, Roy, Low Math, Meekly Interacting, Peter Woit, Peter Woit, GoletaBeach [...] - Weapons of Math Destruction 28

RandomPaddy, Mozibur Ullah, Roderic C Deyo, Q. Austin, Mat Noir, Low Math, Meekly Interacting [...] - Various and Sundry 24

Peter Woit, Anonyrat, Peter Woit, Anonyrat, Mehmet Jon Jonnerson, IMHO [...]

- Still Not Even Wrong 2
### Archives

### Links

### Mathematics Weblogs

- Alex Youcis
- Alexandre Borovik
- Antwerp Noncommutative Geometry Seminar
- Cathy O'Neil
- Chromotopy
- Danny Calegari
- David Hansen
- David Mumford
- Emmanuel Kowalski
- Jeffrey Morton
- Jesse Johnson
- Johan deJong
- Lieven Le Bruyn
- Mathematics Without Apologies
- Michael Hutchings
- Motivic Stuff
- Noncommutative Geometry
- Pieter Belmans
- Qiaochu Yuan
- Quomodocumque
- Rigorous Trivialities
- Secret Blogging Seminar
- Terence Tao
- The n-Category Cafe
- Timothy Gowers

### Physics Weblogs

- Alexey Petrov
- AMVA4NewPhysics
- Andrew Jaffe
- Angry Physicist
- Capitalist Imperialist Pig
- Chad Orzel
- Charles Day
- Clifford Johnson
- Cormac O’Raifeartaigh
- Doug Natelson
- EPMG Blog
- Georg von Hippel
- Gordon Watts
- Jackson Clarke
- Jacques Distler
- Jennifer Ouellette
- Jim Baggott
- Jim Rohlf
- John Horgan
- John Terning
- Kyle Cranmer
- Lubos Motl
- Makoto Sakurai
- Martin Perl
- Matt Strassler
- Matthew Buckley
- Michael Schmitt
- Norbert Bodendorfer
- Peter Orland
- Philip Gibbs
- Physics World
- Resonaances
- Robert Helling
- Ross McKenzie
- Sabine Hossenfelder
- Scott Aaronson
- Sesh Nadathur
- Shaun Hotchkiss
- Shores of the Dirac Sea
- Steve Hsu
- Tommaso Dorigo

### Meta

Here is a quote from Feynman that is also in the genre of refutations for the trope about being able to explain your theory to your grandmother:

“… it is impossible to explain honestly the beauties of the laws of nature in a way that people can feel, without their having some deep understanding of mathematics. I am sorry, but this seems to be the case.”

This is actually a great idea. My personal favourite from Galileo:

or in english (freely translated):

Galileo is of course right. But those who overindulge in mathematical ratiocination (like string theorists) should remember the more sceptical view of Mark Twain:

“There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment in fact.”

Life on the Mississippi

Men can do nothing without the make believe of a beginning. Even science, the strict measurer, is obliged to start with a make-believe unit and must fix on a point in the stars’ unceasing journey when his sidereal clock shall pretend that time is at Nought. His less accurate grandmother Poetry has always been understood to start in the middle; but on reflection it appears that her proceeding is not very different from his;since Science, too, reckons backward as well as forward, divides his unit into billions, and with his clock finger at Nought really sets off in Medias res.

George Eliot

Why Galileo was speaking German?