In my own research when I'm working with equations, I never feel like I really understand what I'm doing if I'm solely relying on the mathematics for my understanding. I need to have a visual picture in my mind. I'm constantly translating from the math to some intuitive mind's-eye picture.

I think math is a hugely creative field, because there are some very well-defined operations that you have to work within. You are, in a sense, straightjacketed by the rules of the mathematics. But within that constrained environment, it's up to you what you do with the symbols.

When general relativity was first put forward in 1915, the math was very unfamiliar to most physicists. Now we teach general relativity to advanced high school students.

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