Labyrinth: A Search for the Hidden Meaning of Science
In many ways nature is like the shape changing mythical figure Proteus. It will avoid revealing secrets unless interrogated extensively. This book explores the history of scientific study, drawing on the experiences of scientists and philosophers from the 17th to the 20th centuries.
The author begins the book with a doctor in the early 1600s. William Gilbert studied magnetic rocks and conjectured about the earth's rotation. This leads on to Francis Bacon's involvement with magnetism and science. As a lawyer, he applied investigative skills into probing science. Bacon was also interested in solving codes, although he did not anticipate the merging of mathematics and experimental science into codebreaking. He explored the use of Egyptian hieroglyphics and alphabetical combinations for enciphering information. He drew lessons from cryptography to show that conventions may impede the understanding of nature.
In the 17th century Johannes Kepler also extended the use of symbolic mathematics, applying