...a companion blog to "Math-Frolic," specifically for interviews, book reviews, weekly-linkfests, and longer posts or commentary than usually found at the Math-Frolic site.

"Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty – a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show." ---Bertrand Russell (1907) Rob Gluck

"I have come to believe, though very reluctantly, that it [mathematics] consists of tautologies. I fear that, to a mind of sufficient intellectual power, the whole of mathematics would appear trivial, as trivial as the statement that a four-legged animal is an animal." ---Bertrand Russell (1957)

******************************************************************** Rob Gluck

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Readings To Start the Year

First, some New Years resolutions (you know, just in case, stating them publicly makes sticking to them any more likely ;):

1)  More exercise and fiber, less sugar, sodium, & carbs
2)  More pickleball, birding, hiking, music, flossing (just kidding)
3)  #Resist, resist, resist


Anyway, some nice readings to start the new year with, courtesy of John Brockman’s Edge group. Every year they respond to some broad science-tinged question, and this year’s query was:
What scientific term or concept ought to be more widely known?

Doesn't sound all that scintillating, but I'm very much enjoying the responses. Haven’t seen the book version in stores yet, but the online version has 204 contributors, and looks to me to be one of the best such Edge volumes in recent years because of the sheer number, diversity, and succinctness of thoughtful, fun nuggets written. Here are just some of the more mathematically-tinged replies, and there are of course a great many interesting, non-mathematics ones as well:

Keith Devlin on Number Sense

Sean M. Carroll on Bayes’s Theorem

Bart Kosko on Negative Evidence

Jason Wilkes on Functional Equations

Lawrence Krauss on Uncertainty

Siobhan Roberts on Surreal Numbers

Ashvin Chhabra on Scaling

Kai Krause On Average

Simon Baron-Cohen on Boolean Logic

Clifford Pickover on the Menger Sponge

Much good stuff!
Scott Aaronson also took part and posted about the Edge essays at his blog with more details, so check out his take:

Lastly, I’ll note Eric Weinstein’s entry on “Russell Conjugation,” having to do with our emotional/visceral, rather than cerebral, reaction to words/language -- this is a topic that comes up in General Semantics (a subject I’ve been emphasizing of late) and which impinges on our current political scene

No comments:

Post a Comment