Sinai receives 2014 Abel Prize

Yakov Sinai, Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University since 1993, has been awarded the 2014 Abel Prize for his groundbreaking research in dynamical systems, ergodic theory and mathematical physics. A stipend of approximately USD $1,000,000 accompanies the prize, which is often referred to as the “Nobel Prize” of mathematics.

The Abel Prize is named after . . . → Read More: Sinai receives 2014 Abel Prize

Gravitational waves confirm mathematical prediction of inflationary big bang

In a dramatic announcement on March 16, 2014, a team of astronomers led by John Kovac of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said that they have detected gravitational waves, confirming predictions made by mathematical physicists Alan Guth, Andrei Linde and others in the 1970s and 1980s.

Gravitational waves from inflation, with their distinctive twisting pattern, . . . → Read More: Gravitational waves confirm mathematical prediction of inflationary big bang

Is philosophy needed in mathematics and science?

Introduction

In a 2004 review in Science of Searle’s Mind a Brief Introduction, neuro-scientist Christof Koch wrote Whether we scientists are inspired, bored, or infuriated by philosophy, all our theorizing and experimentation depends on particular philosophical background assumptions. This hidden influence is an acute embarrassment to many researchers, and it is therefore not often acknowledged. . . . → Read More: Is philosophy needed in mathematics and science?

Upcoming ICMS special session on random walks

A special session “Software, Design and Practice in Random Walks” has been scheduled for the upcoming Fourth international Congress on Mathematical Software (ICMS2014), to be held in Seoul, August 5-9, 2014.

This session will examine interactions between software use/design and random walk research, in a broad sense. More details, including abstract submission guidelines, can be . . . → Read More: Upcoming ICMS special session on random walks

Pi day 3.14 (14)

Pi is very old

The number pi = 3.14159265358979323846… is arguably the only mathematical topic from very early history that is still being researched today. The Babylonians used the approximation pi ≈ 3. The Egyptian Rhind Papyrus, dated roughly 1650 BCE, suggests pi = 256/81 = 3.16049…. Early Indian mathematicians believed pi = . . . → Read More: Pi day 3.14 (14)

Why mathematics is beautiful and why that matters

Scientists through the ages have noted, often with some astonishment, not only the remarkable success of mathematics in describing the natural world, but also the fact that the best mathematical formulations are usually those that are the most beautiful. And almost all research mathematicians pepper their description of important mathematical work with terms like “unexpected,” . . . → Read More: Why mathematics is beautiful and why that matters

Max Tegmark’s “Our Mathematical Universe”

Physicist Max Tegmark has just published an interesting new book entitled Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality. In this very lucidly written book, Tegmark takes the reader on a tour of modern physics and then introduces his theory of the ultimate nature of the universe.

Tegmark starts out by . . . → Read More: Max Tegmark’s “Our Mathematical Universe”

Are our brains hard-wired for numbers?

Numerous studies have been done trying to assess the degree to which mathematical ability is inborn or learned. Especially since the era of brain imaging made neurological enquiry realistic.

For example, in a 2011 study, Melissa Libertus, a psychologist at Johns Hopkins University, displayed briefly flashing groups of blue and yellow dots on a computer . . . → Read More: Are our brains hard-wired for numbers?

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Material on this site is provided for purposes of academic research, and does not necessarily reflect views of the bloggers’ employers, funding agencies or any other organization. Also, inclusion of material (articles, quotations, excerpts) on this website does not necessarily indicate that the bloggers endorse that material. Where articles have other authors indicated, those authors . . . → Read More: Disclaimer and copyright notice

Tipsy tottering, sunlight and the smell of coffee: it’s all random

[Editor's note: This is reprinted from The Conversation, 18 Dec 2013. The original article is authored by Michael Rose and Jonathan Borwein.]

The warmth on your face, the scenic view outside — such delights are delivered to you by countless photons from the sun. But believe it or not, these photons move in much the . . . → Read More: Tipsy tottering, sunlight and the smell of coffee: it’s all random