Analysis is the process of breaking a complex topic or substance into smaller parts to gain a better understanding of it. The technique has been applied in the study of mathematics and logic since before Aristotle (384–322 B.C.), though analysis as a formal concept is a relatively recent development.
The word is from the ancient Greek ἀνάλυσις (analusis, "a breaking up", from ana- "up, throughout" and lysis "a loosening").
As a formal concept, the method has variously been ascribed to Alhazen, René Descartes (Discourse on the Method) and Galileo Galilei. It has also been ascribed to Isaac Newton, in the form of a practical method of physical discovery (which he did not name or formally describe).
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Famous quotes containing the words method and/or analysis:
“There is assuredly no more effectual method of clearing up ones own mind on any subject than by talking it over, so to speak, with men of real power and grasp, who have considered it from a totally different point of view.”
—Thomas Henry Huxley (182595)
“Cubism had been an analysis of the object and an attempt to put it before us in its totality; both as analysis and as synthesis, it was a criticism of appearance. Surrealism transmuted the object, and suddenly a canvas became an apparition: a new figuration, a real transfiguration.”
—Octavio Paz (b. 1914)