Category: math

The shortest-known paper published in a seriou…

The shortest-known paper published in a serious math journal: 2 Succinct Sentences. (Via Open Culture) – PDF

As Sean Carroll says in his FB page:

The shortest math paper ever reminds us why mathematicians think that P doesn’t equal NP, even if they can’t yet prove it. It’s much easier to check solutions to problems (P) than it is to actually solve them (NP).

Below you can see how a CDC 600 computer looks like around 1964-1969.

[Image credit: Jitze Couperus, Supercomputer – The Beginnings – Flickr]

New model predicts that we’re probably t…

New model predicts that we’re probably the only advanced civilization in the observable universe. Via Universe Today.

Well, playing with the Drake equation and the Fermi paradox is always fun and educative, as long as you assume that you are on a purely speculative ground. We actually don’t know, and the “probably” adverb in the title is central.

From the original paper’s abstract (Dissolving the Fermi ParadoxPDF):

[…] The expectation that the universe should be teeming with intelligent life is linked to models like the Drake equation, which suggest that even if the probability of intelligent life developing at a given site is small, the sheer multitude of possible sites should nonetheless yield a large number of potentially observable civilizations. We show that this conflict arises from the use of Drake-like equations, which implicitly assume certainty regarding highly uncertain parameters. We examine these parameters, incorporating models of chemical and genetic transitions on paths to the origin of life, and show that extant scientific knowledge corresponds to uncertainties that span multiple orders of magnitude. This makes a stark difference.

Good synthesis!

Good synthesis!

Via @drewconway (Author: @sandserif)

My first code in Mathematica goes back to V2 (…

My first code in Mathematica goes back to V2 (1991) for the first reliable graphical environment from Microsoft (Windows 3.0, 3.1), lab reports improved instantly. Many things have changed in three decades in the world of computer algebra systems, even to the point to be of (irremediably) minority use, mostly because there are plenty alternatives both for high (Matlab, Octave, Sage) and low level (C, C++, Fortran…), or both (Python, Java, R…). But for people of a couple of generations (those born in the 60s and 70s or so) coming from an almost purely analogical world, seeing a pioneer (back then and now) of that generation as Stephen Wolfram (1959), posting this about the software that he himself had developed from the scratch before his 30 birthday, well, it makes us… happily nostalgic.

In her short life, mathematician Emmy Noether …

In her short life, mathematician Emmy Noether changed the face of physics:

About the David Hilbert’s answer to opposers to Emmy Noether’s application for the position of Privatdozent at University of Göttingen, the full quote goes:

“I do not see that the sex of the candidate is an argument against her admission as privatdozent. After all, we are a university, not a bath house.”

Noether’s application was rejected anyway, but Hilbert arranged for her to stay at Göttingen by having her lectures announced under his name. [See here or here]

Artistic view of the Brout-Englert-Higgs Field…

Artistic view of the Brout-Englert-Higgs Field (Higgs mechanism)

Credit: Daniel Dominguez/CERN

Source (CERN): Higgs boson comes out on top

New results from the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) reveal how strongly the Higgs boson interacts with the heaviest known elementary particle, the top quark.

A pioneering physicist explains why it’s okay …

A pioneering physicist explains why it’s okay to not have all the answers:

Interesting interview with theorist Brian Greene, I liked his concept of personalized education, I think he could be quite right on this.

“[…] I think in some number of years we’ll have a far more personalized approach to education. Kids are different. They come at things completely differently, different DNA, different experiences. If we could allow them to drive the right way to learn for their particular biochemical and neurophysiological make-up, how much more powerful would that be than a one-size-fits-all approach, which is what we do now?

Funny, think about it a few seconds and if you…

Funny, think about it a few seconds and if you still don’t get it go for example here, or here.

Via SMBC who is promoting his book Soonish – Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything.

Beautiful illustration by Maciej Rebisz for a …

Beautiful illustration by Maciej Rebisz for a Quanta Magazine article about Penrose’s cosmic censorship hypotheses:

Mathematicians Disprove Conjecture Made to Save Black Holes

Surely If I were in Los Angeles area I would t…

Surely If I were in Los Angeles area I would try to go to the Caltech’s Beckman Auditorium to celebrate Richard Feynman’s 100th birthday. Relatives, friends, and top-notch colleagues will be there remembering Richard Feynman, one of the big theoretical physicists of the XX’s century, and hence, one of the giants of the human history.