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← Mathematics: stupid and clever questions for people who understand

Helga Vieirch's Avatar Jump to comment 19 by Helga Vieirch

Great idea, Jos.

There is a nice website here, that has a lot of links and information, and a good resource for math questions of all sorts. The guy behind this website is Albert Bartlett, someone I really admire because he has used his retirement to become really active in getting people informed about the major issues facing humanity in the near future. He re-analysed M.King Hubbert's data (he sent me a PDF, so if anyone is interested, let me know and I can pass it on). This, and concern about general concern with current policies favouring continued economic growth, motived him to start giving his famous set of lectures on the exponential function and why failing to understand it is the greatest shortcoming of the human race.

And for math fun with artistic intent, check this stuff out!

I don't have any math questions, but I do have a question about what people think are the important uses of mathematics. Is it just a skill that is needed to get into fields where it is applied to practical problems in jobs involving engineering, statistics, and so on? I know how beautiful and calming it is - like a refuge from the whole of a chaotic world. I remember this from when I was a little kid - here was this whole other language that was totally logical and predictable. It was magical and I loved it. But it is not just a cool place in your head or a nice skill needed to do certain jobs. It is an essential tool of all scientific analysis… with enormous power to predict the future of our climate, our species, our planet, and our universe.

And, as Dr. Barlett's effort clearly illustrates, general ignorance of math and math phobia could really hurt us in the future.

Tue, 08 May 2012 08:20:57 UTC | #940500