Standing by for a correction to our view of the physical

I’ve spent a number of years using this blog to highlight the way that mathematical things seem to operate in very natural occurrences like the way our brains work, the way ants navigate, the way plants calculate an efficient consumption rate of their stored starch, the collective behavior of insect colonies, flocks, schools, and […]

New strategies, new circuitries, new mathematics

I came upon an MIT News article about the work of Ila Fiete who studies brain functions, like the neurological processes that govern navigational reasoning about our surroundings. Fiete uses computational and mathematical tools. Her interest in biology, and her respect for the “aesthetic to thinking mathematically,” (as she put it) led her to […]

Information, mathematics,and the consciousness of the universe

A New Scientist article began with a now familiar refrain:

They call it the “unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics.” Physicist Eugene Wigner coined the phrase in the 1960s to encapsulate the curious fact that merely by manipulating numbers we can describe and predict all manner of natural phenomena with astonishing clarity…

The article by Michael […]

Mathematics says, “here is a point of view.”

Category theory in mathematics is a relatively new and provocative branch of mathematics that has found many faithful followers and some critics. By relatively new I mean that category theory notions were first introduced only as far back as 1945. Criticism of the theory is often related to the level of abstraction it requires. […]

From coin flipping to branching universes

A recent column in Quanta Magazine, by theorist Seam Carroll, highlights the far reaching implications of the role played by probability theory in quantum mechanics. Carroll’s intention is to bring into focus the need, which does seem to exist, for us to understand what, exactly, those probabilities are telling us. In quantum mechanics, the […]

Timeless geometry and what we say time is

Another article about physics and mathematics by Natalie Wolchover, published in both Wired and Quanta Magazine, got my attention because it began like this:

In late August, paleontologists reported finding the fossil of a flattened turtle shell that “was possibly trodden on” by a dinosaur, whose footprints spanned the rock layer directly above. The […]

Building objects from relations: physics and the monad

Quanta Magazine recently published an interview with physicist and author Lee Smolin. Smolin talked about his most recent book, Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution: The Search for What Lies Beyond the Quantum, and the influence that Gottfried Leibniz, has had on the perspective that Smolin most recently adopted. Seventeenth century polymath, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, known for […]

Truth, time, and mathematics

A special September issue of Scientific American is organized around questions about what we seem to know, and how or why we may be deceived about the nature of reality. This special September issue has the title: Truth Lies and Uncertainty. No doubt the editors are inspired, to some extent, by the challenges to […]

What does the mind’s eye see?

My attention was recently brought to a discussion of grid cells and spatial imagery as they relate to cognitive strengths in dyslexic individuals. The discussion takes place in the book The Dyslexic Advantage by Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide, and it amplified many of the thoughts I have expressed about the biological aspect of […]

Mathematical Universes

Physics theoretician Nima Arkani-Hamed, at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, has recently suggested that maybe space and time are not what we think they are. In a recent interview with Natalie Wolchover, for a New Yorker article, he expressed renewed interest in a point made by Richard Feynman in 1964. [1] Feynman […]