Abstract

According to a story, perhaps apocryphal, the great Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens (1629–1695) dropped a stone into the canal next to his house, intently observed the circular wavelet that moved out across the water surface, and—like Pythagoras and Plato—intuited that a world of perfection was behind the imperfect visible world and this perfect world was constructed of perfect mathematical and geometric formulations. Of course, the wavelets that Huygens supposedly observed as a boy were never perfectly circular, but his mind held a clear understanding of a perfect circle and it can be argued that, in the spirit of Plato, Huygens spent his life in uncovering the massively important role played by the circle in science.

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