[FOM] Pure mathematics and humanity's collective curiosity
T.Forster at dpmms.cam.ac.uk
Tue Oct 16 18:45:10 EDT 2007
My favourite examples of this is the way in which the Greeks worked out
huge amounts of stuff concerning conic sections more than a millenium
before Kepler & co discovered that objects under gravity moved in conic
Sometimes fundamental research takes time to bear fruit. This is
always a good one to use on the faux-realists in your university
On Tue, 16 Oct 2007, Adib Ben Jebara wrote:
> My opinion is that most pure mathematics can be
> expected to be applied in the future.
> For the physical world is shaped mathematically.
> We can find in the history of mathematics examples
> where applying a theory came as a surprise.
> For instance, applying non euclidian geometry
> came as a surprise.
> So, recreational mathematics are recreational only for
> a given time.
> Adib Ben Jebara.
> From: "John McCarthy"
> > Feng Ye included
> > Quine and some philosophers following him called mathematics with no
> > potential applications in sciences 'recreational mathematics'
> > One might extend that idea to call science without potential
> > application to human material prosperity `recreational science'.
> FOM mailing list
> FOM at cs.nyu.edu
Home page: www.dpmms.cam.ac.uk/~tf; dpmms phone +44-1223-337981.
In NZ until october work ph +64-3367001 and ask for extension 8152.
Mobile in NZ +64-21-0580093 (Mobile in UK +44-7887-701-562).
More information about the FOM