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]]>Probably it does all come back to the perception of how hard these things are to pick up versus how much one wants to do with them. Or an estimate of the audience, and how likely they are to be familiar with something, and how much book space they’re willing to spend bringing readers up to speed.

]]>I’m not very well-studied in the history of modern physics, at least not in how the mathematical models develop. But I think that you have a good read on it, that we started to get manifolds because they solved some very specific niche problems well. And then treated rigorously they promised more, and then people started looking for problems they could solve. I think that’s probably more common a history for mathematical structures than people realize. But, as you point out, that doesn’t mean everyone’s going to see the tool as worth learning how to use.

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