Unreasonable Effectiveness (science fiction)

Source: College of Charleston, date indeterminate


Mathematician Amanda Birnbaum (whose research in algebraic topology has developed stunning applications in biology) travels to an isolated house on a remote island which subscribes to all of the world’s research journals. There she learns the real answer to the old question “why does pure math research turn out to be so useful in science?” Even though the tongue-in-cheek answer provided the story is not to be taken seriously, a little bit of serious discussion about this question is included as well.

It should be noted that the title is intended to be a clear reference to two important papers that ask the question “why is mathematics so useful?” See Eugene Wigner’s 1960 article and RW Hamming’s 1980 follow-up.

Related Reading:  College of Charleston, date indeterminate


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