We find in the history of ideas mutations which do not seem to correspond to any obvious need, and at first sight appear as mere playful whimsies such as Apollonius' work on **conic** sections, or the non-Euclidean geometries, whose practical value became apparent only later.

— as quoted by Michael Grossman in the

Archimedes studied also the ellipse and accomplished its quadrature, but to the hyperbola he seems to have paid less attention. It is believed that he wrote a book on **conic** sections.

—

The absolute scholar is in fact a rather uncanny being. He is instinct with Nietzsche's finding that to be interested in something, to be totally interested in it, is a libidinal thrust more powerful than love or hatred, more tenacious than faith or friendship — not infrequently, indeed, more compelling than personal life itself. Archimedes does not flee from his killers, he does not even turn his head to acknowledge their rush into his garden when he is immersed in the algebra of **conic** sections.

— "The Cleric of Treason"