To understand a subject, one must tear it apart and reconstruct it in
a form intellectually satisfying to oneself, and that (in the view of
the differences between individual minds) is likely to be different
from the original form. This new synthesis is of course not an individual
effort; it is the result of much reading and of countless informal
discussions, but for it one must in the end take individual responsibility.
Therefore, I apologise, if apology is necessary, for departing from
certain traditional approaches which seemed to me unclear, and for insisting
that the time has come in relativity to abandon an historical order
and to present the subject as a completed whole, completed,
that is, in its essentials. In this age of specialisation,
history is best left to the historians.
J.L. Synge in Relativity: The Special Theory (1956), p. vii
Anyone who studies relativity without understanding how to use simple
space-time diagrams is as much inhibited as a student of functions of
a complex variable who does not understand the Argand diagram.
J.L. Synge in Relativity: The Special Theory (1956), p. 63
...to suppress the pictures is to suppress a powerful source of suggestion.
... Pictorial representation is essential for discovery and rapid
J.L. Synge in The Hypercircle in Mathematical Physics (1957), p. 12
I believe the coordinate-free approach fosters the cultivation
of intuition, a scarce commodity in relativity because the
phenomena this theory is intended to describe are as yet
rather remote from our daily experience.
W. Noll in "Euclidean Geometry and Minkowskian Chronometry"
American Mathematical Monthly
(February 1964), p. 129