O Tiger-lily, said Alice, addressing herself to one that was waving gracefully about in the wind, I wish you could talk! We can talk, said the Tiger-lily: when there's anybody worth talking to. Lewis Carroll (1872) Through the looking glass, Chapter 2: The garden of live flowers (p. 26)
For some minutes Alice stood without speaking, looking out in all directions over the country - and a most curious country it was. There were a number of tiny little brooks running straight across it from side to side, and the ground between was divided up into squares by a number of little green hedges, that reached from brook to brook. I declare its marked out just like a large chessboard! Alice said at last... Its a great huge game of chess thats being played - all over the world.
Father Gregor holds a Fuchsia flower. He holds it up almost for the camera to see, and he squints at it pointedly, with a quizzical expression, as though asking it a question… Father Gregor holds a fuchsia and asks it a question (Mawer, p. 43) [Mendel] watched and examined and thought. He had the mind of a chessplayer (he was a chess-player) and he watched natures moves patiently (Mawer, p. 60)
Joseph Gottlieb Kölreuter 1764 Ich glaube durch [die Verwandlung einer Pflanze in die andere] eben so viel geleistet zu haben, als wenn ich Bley in Gold, oder Gold in Bley verwandelt hätte. Man hat die Verwandlung der Metalle von uralten Zeiten her für möglich gehalten; es ist aber noch niemand eingefallen, dass es möglich wäre, eine Pflanze in die andere, oder ein Tier in das andere zu verwandeln. Vielleicht erweckt es bey einigen meiner Leser ein vergnügen, wenn ich ihnen zeige, dass die Theorie der Alchymisten von dem Wachstum und der Veredlung der Metalle mit derjenigen, die ich von der … Verwandlung einer Pflanze in die andere gegeben, sehr viel übereinkommt (p. 88).
Laboratories … cathedrals of the new age…where priests and scribes decipher and transcribe the texts, and find damnation written just as clearly as they ever did in medieval times… They looked up from their benches and stared… In the street it is the fascination of the freak show, of the monster, of the walking gargoyle, in the laboratories, within the temple of molecular biology, it is the thrill of seeing a manifestation of the texts that they read with such minute attention, as though a beast from the Apocalypse were walking through the scriptorium of a medieval monastery and by his existence confirm the truth of everything that the monks just had transcribed (66/67)
Johannes Gutenberg (1400-1468) Gutenberg – 1450 - boekdrukkunst Elementen (stoicheia): - Elementaire deeltjes - Letters van het alphabet Zwart kunst
Genome-speak: libraries, copying, deciphering, etc. (although the genome is some thousand times as big as the Bible) A simple mistake, interpreting one letter the wrong way, may end up as a total distortion of the whole meaning of the book Luther
Pythagoras (± 500 BC) The first monk who became involved in science The world is composed of numbers Numbers are the elements Stoicheia - Principles (of a science) - Letters (of an alphabet) - Particles (basic constituents) Whole numbers, ratios A 2 + b 2 = c 2 (A + a) (A + a) = A + 2Aa + a
The pea experiment "Well, we'll soon find that out," thought the old queen. But she said nothing, went into the bed-room, took all the bedding off the bedstead, and laid a pea on the bottom; then she took twenty mattresses and laid them on the pea, and then twenty eider-down beds on top of the mattresses. On this the princess had to lie all night. In the morning she was asked how she had slept. "Oh, very badly!" said she. "I have scarcely closed my eyes all night. Heaven only knows what was in the bed, but I was lying on something hard, so that I am black and blue all over my body. It's horrible!" Now they knew that she was a real princess because she had felt the pea right through the twenty mattresses and the twenty eider-down beds. Nobody but a real princess could be as sensitive as that.
Natura (non) facit saltus Alchemie: natura facit saltus Leibniz: natura non facit saltus Lyell: Natura non facit saltus Darwin: natura non facit saltus Mendel: natura facit saltus