About the title
About the title
I changed the title of the blog on March 20, 2013 (it used to have the title “Notes of an owl”). This was my immediate reaction to the news the T. Gowers was presenting to the public the works of P. Deligne on the occasion of the award of the Abel prize to Deligne in 2013 (by his own admission, T. Gowers is not qualified to do this).The issue at hand is not just the lack of qualification; the real issue is that the award to P. Deligne is, unfortunately, the best compensation to the mathematical community for the 2012 award of Abel prize to Szemerédi. I predicted Deligne before the announcement on these grounds alone. I would prefer if the prize to P. Deligne would be awarded out of pure appreciation of his work.
I believe that mathematicians urgently need to stop the growth of Gowers's influence, and, first of all, his initiatives in mathematical publishing. I wrote extensively about the first one; now there is another: to take over the arXiv overlay electronic journals. The same arguments apply.
Now it looks like this title is very good, contrary to my initial opinion. And there is no way back.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
New comments to the post "What is mathematics?"
There is a new thread of comments to the post "What is mathematics?" started by Sandro Magi. The post is dated April 3; this thread started on May 31. The thread is concerned with only one claim in that post: proofs are not needed at all for applications of mathematics.
Unfortunately, the very first phrase of Sandro Magi set the tone for the rest of the discussion: "This is blatantly false". I do not like to discuss things in such a manner: with a total lack of cooperation. The combinatorialists at Gowers's blog are much more friendly even after a direct attack on their field. But, I believe that the reason is not any kind of malice of either party. This dialog is a good illustration of the near impossiblity of people thinking linearly and verbally to understand people thinking visually. In this case the dialog of a mathematician (every mathematician thinks at least partially visually) and a software engineer turned out to be impossible. I encountered the same sort of difficulties while discussing essentially any other subject, from the movies to the current affairs. I see also this lack of understanding of visual and "the big picture" issues in the design and functionality of almost all the software.
Still, it seems to me that there are some important ideas in that discussion. Of course, it would be better to give a coherent exposition. But an attempt to write it would take a lot of time, and who knows when it would be ready.
If somebody wants to comment on any issue there, I suggest to post comments here; this will result in a more clear structure of comments. As an additional benefit for the next 30 days the comments here are not moderated; they are moderated at that post. This rule is subject to change without notice. :-) I would like to ask Sandro Magi to continue our discussion in comments to "What is mathematics?" and not here (of course, he is under not obligation to continue); then the whole discussion will be at the same place.
Next post: 2014 Fields medalists?.