
Springer has just published the book Space, Time and the Limits of Human Understanding. The book consists of 39 chapters, each written by a leading figure in one of the six general areas covered in the volume (philosophy, physics, mathematics, biology and cognitive science, logic and computer science, and miscellaneous). The present author has an article, coauthored with the late Jonathan Borwein, entitled “A computational mathematics view of space, time and complexity.” The book is targeted to a technical reader, but a firstyear college calculus and physics background suffices for at least 90% of the material.
Here is a sample
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Recently Ken Ono, a renowned mathematician at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, published an autobiography entitled My Search for Ramanujan: How I Learned to Count. It is coauthored with Amir Aczel, who, among other things, wrote the book Finding Zero, but sadly Aczel passed away before the book was completed.
Ken Ono was the son of Takashi Ono, a Japanese mathematician who taught at the University of Pennsylvania. Ono’s field of research has closely paralleled the writings of famed Inidian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. Among other things, Ono significantly extended Ramanujan’s work on partition congruences and mock theta functions, and, with
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Introduction
NASA image of hurricane Sandy
Donald Trump’s recent naming of key cabinet and agency appointees (which still must be approved by Congress) raises the question of the scientific qualifications for persons serving in highlevel public office.
Some say that scientific qualifications are only important for positions directly relevant to scientific research, such as NASA, the National Science Foundation, and their equivalents in other nations. But this is very shortsighted. After all, science and technology are increasingly central to:
Energy: Finding practical and economically viable alternatives to fossil fuels, which involves research in mathematics, highenergy physics and materials science,
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Victoria Stodden, Marcia McNutt (President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science), David H. Bailey, Ewa Deelman, Yolanda Gil, Brooks Hanson, Michael Heroux, John Ioannidis and Michela Taufer have published an article in Science (the principal journal of the AAAS) entitled Enhancing reproducibility in computational methods.
In this article we argue that the field of mathematical and scientific computing lags behind other fields in establishing a culture and tools to ensure reproducibility. All too often, the authors of computations, even those that are published in peerreviewed conferences and journals, have not fully documented their algorithms, code, input data
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The Breakthrough Foundation has announced a new set of winners of their awards, including recipients in mathematics, physics and life sciences. The founders of the Breakthrough Prize are Sergey Brin (cofounder of Google) and Anne Wojcicki (cofounder of 23andme), Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan (founder of Facebook and his spouse), Yuri Milner and Julia Milner (Russian venture capitalist and his spouse), and Jack Ma and Cathy Zhang (founder of Alibaba and his spouse).
Mathematics prize
The Breakthrough Prize in mathematics (USD$3 million) was awarded to Jean Bourgain of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Bourgain’s work
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The latest international results comparing Grade 4 and Grade 8 students in mathematics and science are in, and, once again, the Asian tigers (China, Korea, Japan, and Singapore) are roaring, significantly leading major firstworld nations such as the United States, England and Australia.
TIMSS results
The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) is an international test to compare the achievement of fourth and eighth grade students in mathematics and science. It has been administered every four years since 1995, thus providing a 20year period for study of educational trends around the world.
In November 2016, results for the
Continue reading Asian tigers roar in the latest TIMSS mathscience rankings
The American Mathematical Society has announced that David H. Bailey, Jonathan Borwein, Andrew Mattingly and Glenn Wightwick will receive the 2017 Levi L. Conant Prize. Bailey is a retired senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and a research associate at the University of California, Davis. Borwein (deceased 2 August 2016) was a Laureate Professor of Mathematics at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Mattingly is senior information technology architect at IBM Australia. Wightwick is deputy vicechancellor and vicepresident (Research) at the University of Technology Sydney.
This year’s prize was awarded for the recipients’ 2013 article The Computation of Previously
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Computer proofs
Considerable attention has been drawn to the discovery and proof of mathematical theorems by computer.
Perhaps the first major result by a computer came in 1976, with a proof of fourcolor theorem, namely the assertion that any map (with certain reasonable conditions) can be colored with just four distinct colors for individual states. This was first proved by computer in 1976, although flaws were later found, and a corrected proof was not completed until 1995.
In 2003, Thomas Hales of the University of Pittsburgh published a computerbased proof of Kepler’s conjecture, namely the assertion that the familiar method
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Shawn Otto has written a new book on science denialism, entitled The War on Science: Who’s Waging It, Why It Matters, What We Can Do About it.
Otto argues that modern science is under attack from three directions: (a) the academic left, which has asserted that science has no claim to objective truth, (b) the religious right, which has fought evolution and more under the banner of biblical literalism, and (c) the industrial world, which has fought scientific findings in the area of health and environmental protection.
Otto observes that science denialism is rooted, surprisingly enough, in the academic left.
Continue reading Shawn Otto’s “The War on Science”
Introduction
Foster in Contact, saying “They should have sent a poet”
Earlier this year, Kentucky governor Matt Bevin declared that state colleges and universities should educate more electrical engineers and fewer French literature majors: “All the people in the world that want to study French literature can do so, they are just not going to be subsidized by the taxpayer.”
Other politicians have sounded a similar refrain. Governor Patrick McCroy of North Carolina suggested basing funding on postgraduate employment rather than enrollment, or, as he put it rather crudely, “It’s not based on butts in seats but on how
Continue reading Why science needs the humanities

