Mathematics Colloquium

Alan Huckleberry

(Jacobs University Bremen and Ruhr-Universität Bochum)

"The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics"

Date: Mon, February 22, 2016
Time: 17:15
Place: Research II Lecture Hall

Abstract: In the early 1960's Eugene Wigner published a work entitled The unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences. Our talk will begin with a brief summary of Wigner's remarks. This will be followed by arguments, based on examples, which are aimed at showing just the opposite is true: there is an underlying natural force that guides central themes in mathematics toward goals of understanding basic phenomena in nature as well a wide range of everyday applications. We as mathematicians know this, but perhaps we need to be reminded by reminiscing on some of the beautiful long lines in our history. In the talk we will attempt to do this using several examples, the central one being "From planetary motion to IT-security." Perhaps this will encourage public discussions of serious mathematical themes which result in the un being crossed out of the unreasonable.

The colloquium is preceded by tea from 16:45 in the Resnikoff Mathematics Common Room, Research I, 127.