Thursday, April 29, 2010

From Fish to Infinity

Reading a new opinion columnist in the NYT—Stanley Strogatz.  His column is called “From Fish to Infinity” (which I can only guess is a paean to cosmologist George Gamow's One, Two, Three...Infinity) and explores what he calls a second chance at math.  It is a new way (to me anyway) for subjects to be explored in the Times because it takes a slightly more academic bent in its treatment of sources.  It cites them. Who knew?  That is a ‘new’ model.  Better yet it has introduced me to a book and an article that I might never have seen as a math lover from afar. 

  1. “E. Wigner, “The unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences,” Communications in Pure and Applied Mathematics, vol. 13, No. I (February 1960), pp. 1-14. A pdf version is here.  I put this one in my iPod touch and use the app, Papers, to read it.  My skim of it can only come up with one word--mordant.
  2. P. Lockhart, “A Mathematician’s Lament: How School Cheats Us Out of Our Most Fascinating and Imaginative Art Form” (Bellevue Literary Press, 2009).   This one goes on my wishlist at Amazon.  Please, anyone feeling generous?  Otherwise I will have to get it via Interlibrary Loan (which the Firefox extension Book Burro found for me quite handily).
I have laid the breadcrumbs out.  They are tasty and lead to a gingerbread house of an article.  I look forward to following and commenting on his entire series.

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