Auden: minus times minus equals plus, the reason for this we need not discuss

I stumbled upon this quote by W. H. Auden (from A Certain World: A Commonplace Book, 1970). Of course, the natural sciences are just as “humane” as letters. There are, however, two languages, the spoken verbal language of literature, and the written sign language of mathematics, which is the language of science. This puts the scientist…