On mathematics as the language of physics:
Philosophy $[$i.e. natural philosophy, i.e. physics $]$ is written in this grand book — I mean the universe — which stands continually open to our gaze, but it cannot be understood unless one first learns to comprehend the language and interpret the characters in which it is written. It is written in the language of mathematics, and its characters are triangles, circles, and other geometrical figures, without which it is humanly impossible to understand a single word of it; without these, one is wandering around in a dark labyrinth. (Galilei, Il Saggiatore, 1623).
Compare also
David Hilbert, Naturerkennen und Logik, Lecture at the Kongress der Gesellschaft Deutscher Naturforscher und Ärtze, 1930 (pdf, audio)
Eugene Wigner, The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences 1960.
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