This month's Math Chat is based on a 1¾ hour video of Keith Devlin which discusses the mathematical method, the Calculus, and the basics of probability theory. To round out the discussion, there are four supplemental videos adding 1 more hour. So a total of three (3) hours of video to stimulate our discussion. Watching videos is optional, but will enrich and enliven the discussion.
• The main 1¾ hour video with Keith Devlin frames the discussion about Calculus as a technology in the context of what Devlin calls the mathematical method. Do you accept Devlin's framing of the mathematical method? Is Calculus or any mathematics a technology? Does mathematics model the real world? Is math "unreasonably effective" in understanding the real world? The last 45 minutes in the video explore the origins of probability theory with a wonderful discussion of the correspondence between Blaise Pascal and Pierre de Fermat which led to a revolution in our ability to predict the future based on probability. Was that the breakthrough that Devlin claims it was? Wasn't the work of Gerolamo Cardano critically important as well? Read my notes on Devlin's lecture.
Math Counts is a meetup to engage all things mathematical in a relaxed setting on the fourth Saturday of each month. We strive to make each event accessible to those with rudimentary math skills while also engaging those with more advanced knowledge, so join us no matter what your level of mathematical ability.
Mathematics is surprising, playful, stimulating and profoundly applicable to most aspects of life. Keith Devlin and others call it the science of patterns. Math Counts brings together math aficionados, amateur and professional mathematicians and educators to engage all things mathematical. Our meeting topics range from the elementary to the profound, the practical to the philosophical, and the simple to the complex. Whether we are discussing books or on-line videos, hanging out to discuss recent mathematics news, enjoying mathematics activities, or otherwise imbibing the mathematical, we invite you to join us in a relaxing setting for stimulating polite conversations and activities to participate in the fabric of Philadelphia's vibrant Mathematics tapestry.
"If the modern world stands on a mathematical foundation, it behooves every thoughtful, educated person to attempt to gain some familiarity with the world of mathematics. Not only with some particular subject, but with the culture of mathematics, with the manner in which mathematicians think and the manner in which they see this world of their own creation." --- William Byers
"A mathematical theory is not to be considered complete until you have made it so clear that you can explain it to the first man whom you meet on the street." --- An Old French Mathematician quoted by David Hilbert
"But it should always be insisted that a mathematical subject is not to be considered exhausted until it has become intuitively evident." --- Felix Klein
"I assert only that in every particular Nature-study, only so much real science can be encountered as there is mathematics to be found in it" --- Immanuel Kant
"The greatest challenge today, not just in cell biology and ecology but in all of science, is the accurate and complete description of complex systems. Scientists have broken down many kinds of systems. They think they know most of the elements and forces. The next task is to reassemble them, at least in mathematical models that capture the key properties of the entire ensembles." --- E. O. Wilson, Consilience, p.85.