Mathematical beauty, numerical artistry

This blog is not about me. The less about me, probably the better.

The inspiration for this blog is a simple appreciation for the symbolic prestidigitation that gave us our deepest insights into the nature of our world. If you look around the popular media, you will see countless references to various branches of modern science –physics, molecular biology, psychology and many others– with the intention of borrowing scientific legitimacy for all manner of dubious assertion. Writers of every stripe are arguing everything, accusing others of lying and blasting out an endless stream of commentary intended to show who is right and who is stupid. Forget that. If you’ve come for another argumentative tirade by someone who would rather stretch metaphor and pin up straw men than quote reality, you’ve come to the wrong place.

Neglected behind it all is the reason why some people are correct and some people are not. There is such a proliferation of dubious falsehood that one might be left thinking that the truth belongs to the writer with the loudest voice. So often, it feels to me that a basic appreciation for the beauty of the truth is just lost. Everybody knows the equation E=mc^2, but how many people appreciate the remarkable train of logic that created it? It’s beautiful. Forget the bottom line, the trip that produced that little equation is inventive genius, creative and artistic from its deepest levels and owed not merely to one man.

Why should that beauty be accessible to just a few people? Maybe not everyone will understand it, but at least there should be an advocate for the artistry in a thing that most people seem to think should be hidden away and dreaded. You cannot wrap physics up behind paragraphs of allegory and technobabbly pith, the math must be savored. The part that nobody sees is poetry and it deserves to be shared for poetry’s sake.

What will appear in this blog is one minor, moderately capable physicist’s passion for those dazzling mathematical chess moves created by true genius. The trip will hopefully go straight through the wildlands, including personal challenge projects and simple chapter’s end problems from graduate level texts. While I don’t intend to appear like I can quote Mathworld verbatim, and I’m not a bit formal, I have little intention of watering it down. I’ll try to explain the bulk of what’s happening, by I’m not going to hide it.