Category Archives: mathematics and …

how our discipline relates to other things


I can’t resist passing on this, from last week’s Big Issue. Actress Elaine Cassidy likes knitting. She says, I love maths, and knitting is just maths, really. Now mathematicians have thought about weaving, but not (as far as I know) … Continue reading

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Mathematics, poetry and beauty

Comparing mathematics with poetry is an infinitely rich game. For every opinion you express, there is an equally valid counter-opinion. Contrasted to Hilbert’s dismissal of a student who had left mathematics for poetry, “I always thought he didn’t have enough … Continue reading

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Ramon Llull

Last Saturday the Guardian had a review of The Serpent Papers by Jessica Cornwell (granddaughter of John Le Carré). Set in Barcelona and Mallorca, the book is a murder mystery and more; its presiding genius is Ramon Llull, the mediaeval … Continue reading

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OuLiPo, or Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle (which they translate as “Charity bazaar of potential literature”) were a collection of writers I knew little about until yesterday. I knew a couple of things: Martin Gardner wrote about them, mentioning among other … Continue reading

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Dark thoughts

Last night, a concert in the Spitalfields Music Winter Festival, entitled “This year’s midnight”, given by the viol group Fretwork and the mezzo-soprano Clare Wilkinson, with readings by the actor Simon Callow. The title is taken from a poem “A … Continue reading

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Mathematical metaphor

Last week, the book Fashionable Nonsense by Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont emerged from its hiding place under the sofa. So I browsed a couple of chapters. In the book, the authors take various sociologists, literary theorists, psychoanalysts, and others, … Continue reading

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Open access and metrics: the Ball committee report

I mentioned this report in an earlier post; I am grateful to John Ball for directing me to the report on the web (here; the press release is here). The overall conclusions are clear. The ICSU goals for open access … Continue reading

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