Show me the Math!

Is God a Mathematician? by Mario Livio begins

When you work in cosmology … one of the facts of life becomes the weekly letter, e-mail, or fax from someone who wants to describe to you his own theory of the universe (yes, they are invariably men). The biggest mistake you can make is to politely answer that you would like to learn more. This immediately results in an endless barrage of messages. So how can you prevent the assault? The particular tactic I found to be quite useful (short of the impolite act of not answering at all) is to point out the true fact that as long as his theory is not precisely formulated in the language of mathematics, it is impossible to assess its relevance. This response stops most amateur cosmologists in their tracks. … Mathematics is the solid scaffolding that holds together any theory of the universe.

Is God a Mathematician? discusses the question of whether mathematics was invented or discovered. Dr. Livio’s other popular books include The Accelerating Universe (cosmology), The Golden Ratio: The Story of Phi, the World’s most Astounding Number, and The Equation that Couldn’t be Solved: How Mathematical Genius Discovered the Language of Symmetry. All are excellent reads for teachers and students. 


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