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Monday, January 04, 2021

How math and science move in opposite directions | Mathematics - Medium

Blake Bullwinkel, A place to record my thoughts explains,  And how they might ultimately be one and the same…

How math and science move in opposite directions
Photo: Avery Bullwinkel

For almost as long as they have existed, mathematics and natural science have been inextricably linked. Centuries ago, scientists realized that math could be used as a tool to analyze trends, process data, and ultimately develop theories about the mechanics of our universe and underlying laws in nature. Similarly, developments in science over the years have been beneficial to math as well, not only by realizing practical applications for theoretical or “pure” math, but also by drawing connections between seemingly unrelated ideas and thereby furthering the growth of purely mathematical concepts too.

This relationship is perhaps most pronounced at the intersection of math and physics. Eugene Wigner’s famous essay, The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences, suggests that the remarkable applicability of mathematical ideas to physics is more than just an interesting coincidence and hints at something profound about the very laws of nature it attempts to uncover.

“…the mathematical formulation of the physicist’s often crude experience leads in an uncanny number of cases to an amazingly accurate description of a large class of phenomena. This shows that the mathematical language has more to commend it than being the only language which we can speak; it shows that it is, in a very real sense, the correct language.”

The notion that math is the “language” of nature is a belief held by many scientists, including cosmologist Max Tegmark, who in Our Mathematical Universe argues that the “ultimate nature of reality” boils down to an entirely mathematical structure...

It’s hard to know exactly how close scientists are to those roots, or how much further math might still need to develop before they have all the tools needed to formulate a “Theory of Everything” — if that’s even what the axioms ultimately turn out to be. Who knows? If Max Tegmark is right about the Universe being an entirely mathematical structure, maybe one day scientists and mathematicians will discover that they have been investigating the same tree of knowledge all along…

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Source: Medium