Last year, I went to the festival How the Light Gets In in Hay-on-Wye, where I took part in a couple of panel discussions. It was a lovely day out, which I described here.
At this year’s festival in late May, I have an even bigger part to play. I am up for three things:
- A one-off presentation on “Paradox lost” at 5pm on Thursday 29 May;
- A short course on “The infinite quest” on the morning of Friday 30 May;
- A panel discussion on “The Strangeness of Force” at 2:30pm on Friday 30 May.
Infinity is a big topic, and I hope to be able to say something cogent in this short course of three presentations. On paradox, I have a different point of view from some of the other speakers, who believe that Gödel’s theorem leaves mathematics in the “quagmire of paradox”, for two reasons: first, paradox is creative, and has led to important breakthroughs; secondly, despite Gödel, we have managed to prove the Poincaré conjecture and Fermat’s Last Theorem, classify the finite simple groups, and so on. The one about force I am less sure about, but it should be fun.
Do come along to the festival; get tickets from the Institute of Arts and Ideas website. (My lectures are under “IAI academy”; the other things under “Debates/Talks”.) As I reported last year, a “festival of philosophy and music” takes some beating. Between the intellectual exertions, eat delicious food or take in some excellent music. I won’t start listing all the interesting people who will be there; take a look for yourself!
But be warned: if you come to the lectures, of course you are expected to work!
See you there …