Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Conversations with Henry: The Point Is...

Henry: The point you keep trying to make regarding elements is unclear. You need to simplify.

Me: How so?

Henry: For starters, make it purely mathematical. Take away all the character surrounding each element -- the names, the histories, their special properties -- take all that out. Take out everything but its essential core and its surroundings -- like this:

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14 15....

Me: Isn't that a bit reductionist? Matter isn't like a number line sequence.

Henry: You can always add the essential character back in. Do you think a person is defined by their DNA sequence? Describing the elements as a number line emphasizes their sameness and brings out their essential differences. Each element is like a point...a densely charged kernel suffused with opposite charge.

Me: I get it.

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