Month: April 2016

Will affluence replace Christianity?
The current edition of the New Scientist contains a fascinating, if I think ultimately flawed, article on the rise – and putative fall – of moralising religions such as Christianity. Nicolas Baumard, an evolutionary psychologist at the École Normale Supérieure begins by asking how did Jesus go from dying on the cross with a few […]

Let us now praise insufficiently famous men: Claude Shannon
Claude Shannon, who was born exactly a century ago, is the reason you are reading this – his work on signal processing lies behind all the communication on the internet. Shannon’s master work was his MSc thesis – the unreachable target which is dangled in front of every computer science masters student. Related articles When […]

I refute it thus?
A while ago I read Max Tegmark‘s “Our Mathematical Universe” (Amazon link) – which introduced me to the concept of “Quantum Suicide” and the idea that if the “many worlds” interpretation of quantum physics is correct then, if death is a result of quantum processes (e.g., does this particular atomic nucleus decay, releasing radiation, causing […]

Love and Math: a review
When I started reading this book by Edward Frenkel (Amazon link here) I became so engrossed in it on my morning commute that I missed my Tube stop – and the next one. I got an insight into life in the Soviet Union on the cusp of perestroika from a contemporary (if somewhat higher achieving […]

The maths and physics of walking in the sand
I love this – which I picked up from Ian Stewart’s now slightly outofdate (e.g., preproof of Fermat’s Last Theorem) and outofprint The Problems of Mathematics (but a good read and on sale very cheaply at Amazon) – because it demonstrates the harmony of physics with maths, is based on a common experience and is also […]