Alex Bellos’s Adventures in Numberland, The Guardian 2nd December 2015:
“In her new book Mathematics and Art, historian Lyn Gamwell explores how artists have for thousands of years used mathematical concepts – such as infinity, number and form – in their work. Here she choses ten stunning images from her book that reveal connections between maths and art.”
“Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of logic. Logic, the study of reasoning and argument, first became a serious area of study in the 4th century BC through the work of Aristotle. He created a formal logical system, based on a type of argument called a syllogism, which remained in use for over two thousand years. In the nineteenth century the German philosopher and mathematician Gottlob Frege revolutionised logic, turning it into a discipline much like mathematics and capable of dealing with expressing and analysing nuanced arguments. His discoveries influenced the greatest mathematicians and philosophers of the twentieth century and considerably aided the development of the electronic computer. Today logic is a subtle system with applications in fields as diverse as mathematics, philosophy, linguistics and artificial intelligence.With:A.C. GraylingProfessor of Philosophy at Birkbeck, University of LondonPeter MillicanGilbert Ryle Fellow in Philosophy at Hertford College at the University of OxfordRosanna KeefeSenior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Sheffield.Producer: Thomas Morris.”
“Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the relationship between astronomy and the British Empire. The 18th century explorer and astronomer James Cook wrote: ‘Ambition leads me not only farther than any other man has been before me, but as far as I think it possible for man to go’. Cook’s ambition took him to the far reaches of the Pacific and led to astronomical observations which measured the distance of Venus to the Sun with unprecedented accuracy. Cook’s ambition was not just personal and astronomical. It represented the colonial ambition of the British Empire which was linked inextricably with science and trade. The discoveries about the Transit of Venus, made on Cook’s voyage to Tahiti, marked the beginning of a period of expansion by the British which relied on maritime navigation based on astronomical knowledge. With Simon Schaffer, Professor in History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge; Kristen Lippincott, former Director of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich; Allan Chapman, Historian of Science at the History Faculty at Oxford University.”
I am a big fan of number theory. I find the answer to Hilbert’s Tenth Problem fascinating. I was introduced to this problem, a couple of years ago, via the documentary titled : “Julia Robinson and Hilbert’s Tenth Problem“, here is the trailer: You can read more about it here. Also for the sake of completeness, […]
“Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Fibonacci Sequence. Named after a 13th century Italian Mathematician, Leonardo of Pisa who was known as Fibonacci, each number in the sequence is created by adding the previous two together. It starts 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 and goes on forever. It may sound like a piece of mathematical arcania but in the 19th century it began to crop up time and again among the structures of the natural world, from the spirals on a pinecone to the petals on a sunflower.The Fibonacci sequence is also the mathematical first cousin of the Golden Ratio – a number that has haunted human culture for thousands of years. For some, the Golden ratio is the essence of beauty found in the proportions of the Parthenon and the paintings of Leonardo Da Vinci.
With Marcus du Sautoy, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford; Jackie Stedall, Junior Research Fellow in History of Mathematics at Queen’s College, Oxford; Ron Knott, Visiting Fellow in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Surrey.”
BBC Radio 4 In Our Time
“Melvyn Bragg and his guests begin a new series of the programme with a discussion of the French polymath Blaise Pascal. Born in 1623, Pascal was a brilliant mathematician and scientist, inventing one of the first mechanical calculators and making important discoveries about fluids and vacuums while still a young man. In his thirties he experienced a religious conversion, after which he devoted most of his attention to philosophy and theology. Although he died in his late thirties, Pascal left a formidable legacy as a scientist and pioneer of probability theory, and as one of seventeenth century Europe’s greatest writers.
Anniversary Professor of History at the University of York
Drapers Professor of French at the University of Cambridge
Senior Lecturer in the Philosophy of Science at the University of Edinburgh.”