Days with no progress became weeks, and the physicists were becoming disillusioned.

By contrast, the linguists were having much more success. We made steady progress decoding the grammar of the spoken language, Heptapod A.”

It is still early days in the looking-glass sessions, and the physicists have still not made any progress. The fact that the linguists are having some success points to the obvious: math and science breakthroughs will not be possible unless the two species can communicate. Communication is the very powerful, very necessary first step required before any other information can be shared or obtained.

“The physicists were ultimately able to prove the equivalence of heptapod mathematics and human mathematics; even though their approaches were almost the reverse of one another, both were systems of describing the same physical universe.”

This quote comes after the physicists have made a breakthrough in sharing scientific knowledge with the heptapods. The fact that heptapods and humans use different means to describe the same universe reveals communication’s central role in developing scientific concepts. The universe exists, regardless of any one being’s awareness of it or their ability to communicate on the subject. But once a being is able to communicate, their knowledge turns to Laws and Principles. If any one scientist’s hypotheses remained inside their head, it would be useless. But communicating hypotheses and other ideas means developing them, as others can add their ideas and the scientific community can build their knowledge base over time and across generations. The ability to communicate thus undergirds both heptapod and human scientific and technological advancement.