Solomon Marcus is a Romanian mathematician, member of the Mathematical Section of the Romanian Academy and Emeritus Professor of the University of Bucharest's Faculty of Mathematics. His main research is in the fields of mathematical analysis, mathematical and computational linguistics and computer science, but he also published numerous papers on various cultural topics: poetics, linguistics, semiotics, philosophy and history of science and education.
He is recognised as one of the initiators of mathematical linguistics and of mathematical poetics, and has been a member of the editorial board of tens of international scientific journals covering all his domains of interest.
Marcus is featured in People and Ideas in Theoretical Computer Science. A collection of his papers in English followed by some interviews and a brief autobiography was published in 2007 as Words and Languages Everywhere.
Hidden Signs: The Literary Face of the Non-Literary Texts
There is a quasi general agreement about the legitimacy and the high interest to read as literary works the Bible, Plato’s Dialogues, Herodotus’ Histories and many other religious, philosophical or historical works. Is there a similar legitimacy to consider the literary dimension of human creativity in fields like exact sciences, natural and engineering sciences, information sciences, linguistics, medical sciences, economics, sociology, psychology, juridical sciences etc.?
We bring some arguments in favor of an affirmative answer to this delicate question.
Literature, with Homer, and Mathematics, with Thales and Pythagoras, are daughters of the Ancient Myths, from which they inherited some of their basic features: the symbolic function; the need of a fictional universe; the holographic capacity to give to the local, the individual, the instantaneous the capacity to account for the global, the general, the eternal respectively; the need of paradox and of metaphor etc. During about two thousand years, science and culture were a mixture of mythical elements, literature, science and philosophy. Archimedes, some of the Catholic theologians of the Middle Age, Spinoza, Newton, until important authors of the 20th century in fields such as physics, biology or linguistics followed the axiomatic deductive type of presentation proposed by Euclid’s Elements. Lucretius, Copernicus, Galilei, Kepler, in their famous works, are both important scholars and writers and the same is true for Augustine and for Aquinas. Italo Calvino gave a very deep argument for the high literary dimension of Galileo Galilei’s writings and his debate with Carlo Cassola whether science and literature have to say some thing each other deserves great attention. Calvino, a real European Borges, is in contrast with Roland Barthes’ claim of a radical opposition between science and literature.