Mathematics: Invented or Discovered?

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Mario Livio discusses the complementary processes of mathematical invention and discovery. While we invent some mathematical concepts—such as prime and imaginary numbers—by deciding how to define them, these concepts can lead to a plethora of mathematical discoveries.

This program is part of The Big Idea Series, made possible with support from the John Templeton Foundation.


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Date: Friday June 4, 2010
Time: 08:00 PM-09:30 PM
Venue: Tishman Auditorium at The New School
Moderator: Paul Nurse
Participants: Gregory Chaitin, Mario Livio, Marvin Minsky, Rebecca Newberger Goldstein

This statement is false. Think about it, and it makes your head hurt. If it’s true, it’s false. If it’s false, it’s true. In 1931, Austrian logician Kurt Gödel shocked the worlds of mathematics and philosophy by establishing that such statements are far more than a quirky turn of language: he showed that there are mathematical truths which simply can't be proven. In the decades since, thinkers have taken the brilliant Gödel's result in a variety of directions--linking it to limits of human comprehension and the quest...[Read more]


how to find the whole discussion and its title? it‘s only an excerpt! why no link? also where is a list of panelist's names? when exactly and where did it happen? it's disrespectful to the panelists just to cut everything they said without a link to the whole event. we expect 'more and better' from 'science people. thank you