Mathematics

The Quantum Pontiff

Category archives for Mathematics

Not True in Any Base

Yes, dear Gray Lady, you certainly sound more sophisticated when you use the word “prime number” in your newspaper. But perhaps you might want to look up the actual meaning of the word before placing those words prominently beside two times five times five.

Martin Gardner

Martin Gardner has passed away at age 95. I fondly remember going back through the back issues of “Scientific American” as a kid and devouring Gardner’s “Mathematical Recreations” column (along with the similar columns written by Hofstadter and Dewdney.) If I have any mathematical skills, I probably owe a large chunk of them to some…

Everday Orthogonality

Another one from Michael, who spotted an article about one of my favorite mathematical words to use in everyday speech (much the chagrin of non-scientists) used in the Supereme Court of the United States: Supreme Court justices deal in words, and they are always on the lookout for new ones. University of Michigan law professor…

Bayesians Say the Cutest Things

The Dutch book argument of Bruno de Finetti is an argument which is supposed to justify subjective probabilities. What one does in this argument is gives probabilities an operational definition in terms of the amount one is willing to bet on some event. Thus a probability p is mapped to your being willing to make…

James Simons Retiring

James Simons, he of the Chern-Simons form, and also, of late, from the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies Corporation, is retiring. The infamous Medallion fund was up last year, apparently, only a mere 80 percent. Quite a feat, turning into

Gelfand 1913-2009

Israel Gelfand, one of the great mathematicians of our age, apparently passed away yesterday at the age of 96. Check out the list of results that bear his name on the above linked Wikipedia page. Wow. Today I will, in his honor, think a bit more about Gelfand-Tsetlin basis and what they can be used…

Talk on Economics, Beauty, and Math

Those of you interested in the recent debate over math, beauty, economics, and Paul Krugman, and who are in New York on Oct 5 might be interested in a talk by Eric Weinstein at Columbia: We will be taking a position opposite to the Claim of Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman: “As I see it, the…

Krugman: I’m For Math!

Krugman clarifies: I’ve been getting some comments from people who think my magazine piece was an attack on the use of mathematics in economics. It wasn’t…So by all means let’s have math in economics — but as our servant, not our master. Word. (Of course the point I was trying to make was that I…

Over at the most uncertain blog, he of uncertain principles (aka Chad) takes up a challenge posed by @EricRWeinstein on twitter concerning Paul Krugman’s recent article on why economists got the economic crisis so wrong. Since I know even less economics than anyone around here this seems like a great opportunity for me to weigh…

Over 9 months ago I decided to apply for teaching tenure track jobs. Then the economy took what can best be described as a massive, ill-aimed, swan dive. Thus creating an incredible amount of stress in my life. So what does a CS/physics research professor do when he’s stress? The answer to that question is…