The Simplicity Postulate

  • Marjorie SenechalEmail author
Part of the Mathematics, Culture, and the Arts book series (MACUAR)


“Simplicity” conjures a string of synonyms, not necessarily synonymous with one another. Ease, as in the Simplicity® patterns I learned to sew with in junior high school (back then girls were taught to sew). Unpretentious, as in the Shaker song “Simple Gifts”: “’Tis a gift to be simple, ‘tis a gift to be free, / ‘Tis a gift to come down where we ought to be.” Minimal, as in lifestyle. I think of my friend who would go to a shoe repair shop, hand her shoes to the proprietor, and sit down to wait. “Why don’t you leave them and pick them up later?” I asked her. “Because these are my only shoes,” she replied. “One pair is all I need.” Easy, unpretentious, minimal: “simplicity” evokes these synonyms in math and science too, and there are more.


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MathematicsSmith CollegeNorthamptonUSA

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