What seems to be the central reason preventing mathematicians and physicists from acknowledging the significance of the connections between their respective fields is a fundamental, but understandable, misunderstanding about the nature of number systems. Numbers are considered to be abstract inventions of pure human imagination, and mathematical formulations are seen therefore as being based in nothing more than abstraction. As a consequence, the idea that number theory and physics are formally connected is rejected – even as the evidence for formal connections between the two fields is being examined and analysed as profound mystery.

This is a crucial mistake.

Number systems are at their most basic level, founded on the concretely physical property of quantity. Numerical relationships are quantitative relationships, and quantitative relationships are at the heart of physics.

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