The Mystery of Our Mathematical Universe

Panel Discussion October 10, 2018

From basic arithmetic to the calculation of rocket trajectories, mathematics provides an elegant means of systematically understanding and quantifying the world around us. Beyond its computational functions, however, mathematics serves an even more vital purpose: It illuminates the most fundamental knowledge of our universe, furnishing the tools that classical physics, quantum mechanics, and astronomy use to develop and build upon their findings.

But why should mathematics be so effective in explaining our universe, as first noted by Nobel laureate physicist Eugene Wigner? Why have fundamental laws discovered through pure mathematics turned out to describe the behavior of our physical world with such remarkable precision, from the fundamental law of gravitation to Maxwell’s electromagnetic equations? Given that our physical universe is comprised of mathematical properties, some have posited that mathematics is the language of the universe, whose laws reveal what appears to be a hidden order in the natural world. But are there also limits to what mathematics can reveal about the mystery of our universe?

Theoretical physicist S. James Gates Jr. and science writer Margaret Wertheim join Steve Paulson to explore the mystery of our universe and the uncanny potential of mathematics to reveal the laws of nature.

Panel

  • Steve Paulson Journalist and Executive Producer, TTBOOK
  • S. James Gates Jr. Professor of Physics, Brown University
  • Margaret Wertheim Science Writer, Curator, and Artist

Details

  • Wednesday, October 10, 2018
  • 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
  • The New York Academy of Sciences
    7 World Trade Center, 250 Greenwich Street, 40th Floor

Annals

This volume brings together leading scientists and thinkers to explore the fundamental nature of reality through the lens of scientific inquiry and personal experience.

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About This Series

This event is part of the Conversations on the Nature of Reality series, which brings together leading scientists and thinkers to explore the fundamental nature of reality through the lens of scientific inquiry and personal experience.

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Highlights

  • Was Mathematics Discovered or Invented? Oct 10, 2018 02:23 11847
  • The Moment S. James Gates, Jr. Realized the Power of Mathematics Oct 10, 2018 03:32 13806
  • A "Stitchery Woolen Proof" of Hybperbolic Geometry Oct 10, 2018 02:44 565
  • What are the Limits of Mathematics? Oct 10, 2018 05:26 1102
  • Is the Universe a Mathematical Simulation? Oct 10, 2018 03:17 95749
  • The Beauty of Mathematics Oct 10, 2018 05:47 1146
  • Is Mathematics the Ultimate Reality? Oct 10, 2018 02:12 1654
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