Category Archives: mathematics and …

how our discipline relates to other things

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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Hood fellowships

On Monday, we went to a celebration of 10 years of the Hood Foundation, in University House, a lovely building which had been a synagogue and then a bank and was now offices for part of the university administration (with … Continue reading

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Poe on algebraists

Michael Kinyon reminded me of Edgar Allan Poe’s comments on algebraists in his story “The Purloined Letter”. Here they are in full. “But is this really a poet?” I asked. “There are two brothers, I know; and both have attained … Continue reading

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Note on infinity

A common caricature of the view of the mediaeval scholastics is that they wondered whether the number of angels who can dance on the head of a pin is infinite or not. In fact, this calumny was invented much later. … Continue reading

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Bayes again

It is always a pleasure to read David Colquhoun’s posts. The most recent explains a simple statistical point that still escapes many health adminisitrators (and others). He describes two tests for Alzheimer’s disease. The first (which I will discuss) is … Continue reading

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Donald Preece: obituary and bibliography

Rosemary has written a long obituary of Donald, far too long for a journal to consider, but worth having on record (I think).

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