“Beauty” as a Search Heuristic?

Through my colleague, Prof. Andrew Ranicki, I came upon this interesting interview with another distinguished colleague, Sir Michael Atiyah: https://www.quantamagazine.org/20160303-michael-atiyahs-mathematical-dreams/. The interview contains interesting reflection upon many things including the notion of beauty in mathematics. Indeed, Atiyah has co-authored a paper based on a very interesting neuroscience study on neural correlates of beauty: http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnhum.2014.00068. The key […]

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Sociology of ideas

Related to my previous post, this was in my inbox today (thanks to ACM TechNews): Computers Intersect With Sociology to Sift Through ‘All Our Ideas’ Princeton University (07/19/10) Emery, Chris Princeton University researchers have developed a new way for organizations to solicit ideas from large groups and to have them vote on the merit of […]

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The long slow conversation, among machines

Science is a long slow conversation. As a doctoral student, I was very impressed by this simple claim which, at the time, was offered as advice regarding research strategy. I was quite taken by the idea that there are many different ways to influence and shape the conversation, that the loudest voice is typically not […]

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What does Polymath tell us about problem solving?

Gowers and Nielsen have written a nice opinion piece (Nature 461, 879-881, 15 October 2009) on The Polymath Project, an open-source and collaborative attempt at solving an unsolved math problem – to find a new proof of a result in ergodic theory called the density Hales-Jewett theorem using only ‘elementary’ building blocks. The protocol for […]

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Simon on Discovery

“For a variety of reasons, perhaps best understood by psychoanalysis, when we talk or write about scientific discovery, we tend to dwell lovingly on great events – Galileo and uniform acceleration, Newton and universal gravitation, Einstein and relativity. We insist that a theory of discovery postulate proceses sufficiently powerful to produce these events. It is […]

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Ockham’s razor in different fields

Someone participating in an ongoing exchange within a public newsgroup made the following observation which I believe is very pertinent to areas I work in as well: Ockham’s razor was a terrible heuristic for planetary science for about 1500 years, not with respect to replicating the position of the planets in the night sky (big […]

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