What life is like when you really understand advanced mathematics


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/08/16/what-life-is-like-when-you-rea.html


#2

(Late 90’s indie movie spoiler:)


#3

Prove it!


#4

Leaving the theater - I was the only person saying I liked this movie…


#5

No wonder humanity has so much difficulty comprehending the nature of God—He is made out of MATH!

Like, that’s some AP Calculus-level stuff.


#6

Damn. Beat me to it.


#7

A 216 digit number? That’s only 720 bits, or 90 bytes. That’s shorter than the keys that are used in a lot of encryption schemes.

It’s hard to imagine that all of creation boils down to 720 bits.


#8

That’s just His nickname.


#9

I love that movie.


#10

Mr. Doctorow, thank you so much for posting this. The author hits the nail right on the head.


#11

I would posit that the explanation (i.e., it’s hard work and you need a lots of mental tools and lots of experience) is true for most any human endeavor. At least to do a good job at it.

/pedantry


#12

If you want to get his attention you should use the @ symbol so @doctorow in this case.


#13

I imagine you can’t buy a single thing with out knowing how badly you are getting fucked on the price.


#14

Why illustrate with a photo from a sophomore-level class?


#15

Can’t trust nicknames


#16

IMHO, matrix algebra is pretty mind-expanding. But, once upon a time I actually felt like I understood it in some modest degree. So it must be trivial.


#17

It isn’t trivial, but the Gauss-Jordan elimination method is about the most mechanical and straightforward algorithm that exists in mathematics.


#18

My spirituality is somewhat nebulously defined – I can’t take human conceptions of the divine seriously, but I can’t really self-identify as an atheist either – but I actually do feel that math is the human construct that gets closest to divinity, whatever that thing may be.

A beautiful piece of math is kind of like a beautiful cathedral, in that it’s not the divine, but it points at it in ways that humans can experience aesthetically (if such aesthetics float your particular boat).

And apropos – or not – contemplating number theory on high-dose psychedelics is the bomb.


#19

I’m atheist by any practical definition, but I know what you mean. If I were looking for evidence of a designer, I’d take a hard look at the creepy discovered-rather-than-invented language woven into the fabric of the universe. The one whose sentences, when constructed according to strict grammatical rules, are eerily likely to predict real world phenomena.

OTOH, if I were looking for comfort and community, I’d look elsewhere.


#20

Advanced mathematics are not as advanced as one may think.

It starts as an exercise in proving that the things that a student was taught in Calc I, II, III, etc… are actually correct, but in very abstract, formal terms. The language used to describe these proofs are somewhat esoteric and, I feel, a source of dissuasion for those wishing to explore their mathematical education beyond an engineering level requirement.