Internationally famous mathematician Ioan James and accomplished psychiatrist Michael Fitzgerald look at the complex world of mathematics and the mind. They discuss mathematics and the arts, savants, gender and mathematical ability, and the impact of autism, personality disorders, and mood disorders.
In Infinity and the Mind, Rudy Rucker leads an excursion to that stretch of the universe he calls the "Mindscape," where he explores infinity in all its forms: potential and actual, mathematical and physical, theological and mundane. Rucker acquaints us with Gödel's rotating universe, in which it is theoretically possible to travel into the past, and explains an interpretation of quantum mechanics in which billions of parallel worlds are produced every microsecond. It is in the realm of infinity, he maintains, that mathematics, science, and logic merge with the fantastic. By closely examining the paradoxes that arise from this merging, we can learn a great deal about the human mind, its powers, and its limitations. Using cartoons, puzzles, and quotations to enliven his text, Rucker guides us through such topics as the paradoxes of set theory, the possibilities of physical infinities, and the results of Gödel's incompleteness theorems. His personal encounters with Gödel the mathematician and philosopher provide a rare glimpse at genius and reveal what very few mathematicians have dared to admit: the transcendent implications of Platonic realism.
This visionary and engaging book provides a mathematical perspective on the fundamental ideas of numbers, space, life, evolution, the brain and the mind. The author suggests how a development of mathematical concepts in the spirit of category theory may lead to unravelling the mystery of the human mind and the design of universal learning algorithms. The book is divided into two parts, the first of which describes the ideas of great mathematicians and scientists, those who saw sparks of light in the dark sea of unknown. The second part, Memorandum Ergo, reflects on how mathematics can contribute to the understanding of the mystery of thought. It argues that the core of the human mind is a structurally elaborated object that needs a creation of a broad mathematical context for its understanding. Readers will discover the main properties of the expected mathematical objects within this context, called ERGO-SYSTEMS, and readers will see how these “systems” may serve as prototypes for design of universal learning computer programs. This is a work of great, poetical insight and is richly illustrated. It is a highly attractive read for all those who welcome a mathematical and scientific way of thinking about the world.
Bestselling author and astrophysicist Mario Livio examines the lives and theories of history’s greatest mathematicians to ask how—if mathematics is an abstract construction of the human mind—it can so perfectly explain the physical world. Nobel Laureate Eugene Wigner once wondered about “the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics” in the formulation of the laws of nature. Is God a Mathematician? investigates why mathematics is as powerful as it is. From ancient times to the present, scientists and philosophers have marveled at how such a seemingly abstract discipline could so perfectly explain the natural world. More than that—mathematics has often made predictions, for example, about subatomic particles or cosmic phenomena that were unknown at the time, but later were proven to be true. Is mathematics ultimately invented or discovered? If, as Einstein insisted, mathematics is “a product of human thought that is independent of experience,” how can it so accurately describe and even predict the world around us? Physicist and author Mario Livio brilliantly explores mathematical ideas from Pythagoras to the present day as he shows us how intriguing questions and ingenious answers have led to ever deeper insights into our world. This fascinating book will interest anyone curious about the human mind, the scientific world, and the relationship between them.
The autobiography of mathematician Stanislaw Ulam, one of the great scientific minds of the twentieth century, tells a story rich with amazingly prophetic speculations and peppered with lively anecdotes. As a member of the Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1944 on, Ulam helped to precipitate some of the most dramatic changes of the postwar world. He was among the first to use and advocate computers for scientific research, originated ideas for the nuclear propulsion of space vehicles, and made fundamental contributions to many of today's most challenging mathematical projects. With his wide-ranging interests, Ulam never emphasized the importance of his contributions to the research that resulted in the hydrogen bomb. Now Daniel Hirsch and William Mathews reveal the true story of Ulam's pivotal role in the making of the "Super," in their historical introduction to this behind-the-scenes look at the minds and ideas that ushered in the nuclear age. An epilogue by Fran oise Ulam and Jan Mycielski sheds new light on Ulam's character and mathematical originality.
In 2010, French mathematician Cédric Villani received the Fields Medal, the most coveted prize in mathematics, in recognition of a proof which he devised with his close collaborator Clément Mouhot to explain one of the most surprising theories in classical physics. Birth of a Theorem is Villani's own account of the years leading up to the award. It invites readers inside the mind of a great mathematician as he wrestles with the most important work of his career. But you don't have to understand nonlinear Landau damping to love Birth of a Theorem. It doesn't simplify or overexplain; rather, it invites readers into collaboration. Villani's diaries, emails, and musings enmesh you in the process of discovery. You join him in unproductive lulls and late-night breakthroughs. You're privy to the dining-hall conversations at the world's greatest research institutions. Villani shares his favorite songs, his love of manga, and the imaginative stories he tells his children. In mathematics, as in any creative work, it is the thinker's whole life that propels discovery—and with Birth of a Theorem, Cédric Villani welcomes you into his.
How to Excel at Math and Science (even If You Flunked Algebra)
Author: Barbara A. Oakley
Category: Business & Economics
An engineering professor who started out doing poorly in mathematical and technical subjects in school offers tools, tips and techniques to learning the creative and analytical thought processes that will lead to achievement in math and science. Original.
Kurt Gödel was an intellectual giant. His Incompleteness Theorem turned not only mathematics but also the whole world of science and philosophy on its head. Shattering hopes that logic would, in the end, allow us a complete understanding of the universe, Gödel's theorem also raised many provocative questions: What are the limits of rational thought? Can we ever fully understand the machines we build? Or the inner workings of our own minds? How should mathematicians proceed in the absence of complete certainty about their results? Equally legendary were Gödel's eccentricities, his close friendship with Albert Einstein, and his paranoid fear of germs that eventually led to his death from self-starvation. Now, in the first book for a general audience on this strange and brilliant thinker, John Casti and Werner DePauli bring the legend to life.
Publisher: World Scientific Publishing Company Incorporated
There is more than one way to think. Most people are familiar with the systematic, rule-based thinking that one finds in a mathematical proof or a computer program. But such thinking does not produce breakthroughs in mathematics and science nor is it the kind of thinking that results in significant learning. Deep thinking is a different and more basic way of using the mind. It results in the discontinuous "aha!" experience, which is the essence of creativity. It is at the heart of every paradigm shift or reframing of a problematic situation. The identification of deep thinking as the default state of the mind has the potential to reframe our current approach to technological change, education, and the nature of mathematics and science. For example, there is an unbridgeable gap between deep thinking and computer simulations of thinking. Many people suspect that such a gap exists, but find it difficult to make this intuition precise. This book identifies the way in which the authentic intelligence of deep thinking differs from the artificial intelligence of "big data" and "analytics." Deep thinking is the essential ingredient in every significant learning experience, which leads to a new way to think about education. It is also essential to the construction of conceptual systems that are at the heart of mathematics and science, and of the technologies that shape the modern world. Deep thinking can be found whenever one conceptual system morphs into another. The sources of this study include the cognitive development of numbers in children, neuropsychology, the study of creativity, and the historical development of mathematics and science. The approach is unusual and original. It comes out of the author's lengthy experience as a mathematician, teacher, and writer of books about mathematics and science, such as How Mathematicians Think: Using Ambiguity, Contradiction, and Paradox to Create Mathematics and The Blind Spot: Science and the Crisis of Uncertainty.
In the bestselling literary tradition of Lewis Thomas's Lives of a Cell and James Watson's The Double Helix, Poetry of the Universe is a delightful and compelling narrative charting the evolution of mathematical ideas that have helped to illuminate the nature of the observable universe. In a richly anecdotal fashion, the book explores teh leaps of imagination and vision in mathematics that have helped pioneer our understanding of the world around us.
Meet Raye Montague--the hidden mastermind who made waves in the U.S. Navy! After touring a German submarine in the early 1940s, young Raye set her sights on becoming an engineer. Little did she know sexism and racial inequality would challenge that dream every step of the way, even keeping her greatest career accomplishment a secret for decades. Through it all, the gifted mathematician persisted--finally gaining her well-deserved title in history: a pioneer who changed the course of ship design forever. The Girl With a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague is the third book in a riveting educational series about the inspiring lives of amazing scientists. In addition to the illustrated rhyming tale, you'll find a complete biography, fun facts, a colorful timeline of events, and even a note from Montague herself!
The Psychology of Invention in the Mathematical Field
Author: Jacques Hadamard
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Fifty years ago when Jacques Hadamard set out to explore how mathematicians invent new ideas, he considered the creative experiences of some of the greatest thinkers of his generation, such as George Polya, Claude L�vi-Strauss, and Albert Einstein. It appeared that inspiration could strike anytime, particularly after an individual had worked hard on a problem for days and then turned attention to another activity. In exploring this phenomenon, Hadamard produced one of the most famous and cogent cases for the existence of unconscious mental processes in mathematical invention and other forms of creativity. Written before the explosion of research in computers and cognitive science, his book, originally titled The Psychology of Invention in the Mathematical Field, remains an important tool for exploring the increasingly complex problem of mental life. The roots of creativity for Hadamard lie not in consciousness, but in the long unconscious work of incubation, and in the unconscious aesthetic selection of ideas that thereby pass into consciousness. His discussion of this process comprises a wide range of topics, including the use of mental images or symbols, visualized or auditory words, "meaningless" words, logic, and intuition. Among the important documents collected is a letter from Albert Einstein analyzing his own mechanism of thought.
From Kepler and the music of the spheres to Einstein and his violin, wherever we turn music and mathematics seem to bear a strong relationship. Through exploring music and math from the Greeks to the present, the chief music critic for The New York Times seeks to unravel this intriguing mystery.
The Number Sense is an enlightening exploration of the mathematical mind. Describing experiments that show that human infants have a rudimentary number sense, Stanislas Dehaene suggests that this sense is as basic as our perception of color, and that it is wired into the brain. Dehaene shows that it was the invention of symbolic systems of numerals that started us on the climb to higher mathematics. A fascinating look at the crossroads where numbers and neurons intersect, The Number Sense offers an intriguing tour of how the structure of the brain shapes our mathematical abilities, and how our mathematics opens up a window on the human mind.
Who were the five strangest mathematicians in history? What are the ten most interesting numbers? Jam-packed with thought-provoking mathematical mysteries, puzzles, and games, Wonders of Numbers will enchant even the most left-brained of readers. Hosted by the quirky Dr. Googol--who resides on a remote island and occasionally collaborates with Clifford Pickover--Wonders of Numbers focuses on creativity and the delight of discovery. Here is a potpourri of common and unusual number theory problems of varying difficulty--each presented in brief chapters that convey to readers the essence of the problem rather than its extraneous history. Peppered throughout with illustrations that clarify the problems, Wonders of Numbers also includes fascinating "math gossip." How would we use numbers to communicate with aliens? Check out Chapter 30. Did you know that there is a Numerical Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder? You'll find it in Chapter 45. From the beautiful formula of India's most famous mathematician to the Leviathan number so big it makes a trillion look small, Dr. Googol's witty and straightforward approach to numbers will entice students, educators, and scientists alike to pick up a pencil and work a problem.
Mathematicians is a remarkable collection of ninety-two photographic portraits, featuring some of the most amazing mathematicians of our time. Acclaimed photographer Mariana Cook captures the exuberant and colorful personalities of these brilliant thinkers and the superb images are accompanied by brief autobiographical texts written by each mathematician. Together, the photographs and words illuminate a diverse group of men and women dedicated to the absorbing pursuit of mathematics. The compelling black-and-white portraits introduce readers to mathematicians who are young and old, fathers and daughters, and husbands and wives. They include Fields Medal winners, those at the beginning of major careers, and those who are long-established celebrities in the discipline. Their candid personal essays reveal unique and wide-ranging thoughts, opinions, and humor, as the mathematicians discuss how they became interested in mathematics, why they love the subject, how they remain motivated in the face of mathematical challenges, and how their greatest contributions have paved new directions for future generations. Mathematicians in the book include David Blackwell, Henri Cartan, John Conway, Pierre Deligne, Timothy Gowers, Frances Kirwan, Peter Lax, William Massey, John Milnor, Cathleen Morawetz, John Nash, Karen Uhlenbeck, and many others. Conveying the beauty and joy of mathematics to those both within and outside the field, this photographic collection is an inspirational tribute to mathematicians everywhere.
There are some mathematical problems whose significance goes beyond the ordinary - like Fermat's Last Theorem or Goldbach's Conjecture - they are the enigmas which define mathematics. The Great Mathematical Problems explains why these problems exist, why they matter, what drives mathematicians to incredible lengths to solve them and where they stand in the context of mathematics and science as a whole. It contains solved problems - like the Poincar Conjecture, cracked by the eccentric genius Grigori Perelman, who refused academic honours and a million-dollar prize for his work, and ones which, like the Riemann Hypothesis, remain baffling after centuries. Stewart is the guide to this mysterious and exciting world, showing how modern mathematicians constantly rise to the challenges set by their predecessors, as the great mathematical problems of the past succumb to the new techniques and ideas of the present.