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Mathematics
Mathematics
January 8, 2021
A New Year's Present from a Mathematician
Snezana Lawrence
Hosted by Cory Brunson
It would be simple enough to say that mathematics is being done, and that those who do it are mathematicians. Yet, the history and culture of the mathematical community immediately …
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Mathematics
December 7, 2020
The Fate of Schrodinger's Cat
Using Math and Computers to Explore the Counterintuitive
James D. Stein
Hosted by Cory Brunson
Math has a complicated relationship with the counterintuitive: Rigorous logic, calculation, and simulation can both help us wrap our minds around phenomena that defy our intuition, and thrust upon us whole new worlds …
Mathematics
December 1, 2020
Supermath
The Power of Numbers for Good and Evil
Anna Weltman
Hosted by Cory Brunson
Mathematics as a subject is distinctive in its symbolic abstraction and its potential for logical and computational rigor. But mathematicians tend to impute other qualities to our subject that set …
Mathematics
November 11, 2020
The Joy of Geometry
Alfred S. Posamentier
Hosted by Jim Stein
Alfred S. Posamentier's The Joy of Geometry (Prometheus, 2020) is a book for someone who has taken geometry but wants to go further. This book, as one might expect, is …
Mathematics
September 29, 2020
How to Free Your Inner Mathematician
Notes on Mathematics and Life
Susan D'Agostino
Hosted by Cory Brunson
Doing mathematics can be stimulating, deep, and sometimes fantastic. It can also be frustrating, impenetrable, and at times dispiriting. In her new collection of essays, writer and mathematician Susan D'Agostino …
Mathematics
September 9, 2020
Mathematics Entertainment for the Millions
Alfred Posamentier
Hosted by Jim Stein
The book being discussed is Mathematics Entertainment for the Millions (World Scientific Publishing Co.), by Alfred Posamentier. In reading this book, it occurred to me that it might equally well …
Economics
September 4, 2020
Dark Data
Why What You Don't Know Matters
David J. Hand
Hosted by Cory Brunson
There is no shortage of books on the growing impact of data collection and analysis on our societies, our cultures, and our everyday lives. David Hand's new book Dark Data …
European Studies
August 24, 2020
Calculus Reordered
A History of the Big Ideas
David Bressoud
Hosted by Mark Molloy
Calculus Reordered: A History of the Big Ideas (Princeton UP, 2019) takes readers on a remarkable journey through hundreds of years to tell the story of how calculus evolved into …
Literature
August 13, 2020
Mage Merlin's Unsolved Mathematical Mysteries
Satyan Devadoss and Matt Harvey
Hosted by Jim Stein
There are very few math books that merit the adjective ‘charming’ but Mage Merlin's Unsolved Mathematical Mysteries (MIT Press, 2020) is one of them. Satyan Devadoss and Matt Harvey have …
Philosophy
July 10, 2020
Games in the Philosophy of Biology
Cailin O’Connor
Hosted by Carrie Figdor
The branch of mathematics called game theory – the Prisoners Dilemma is a particularly well-known example of a game – is used by philosophers, social scientists, and others to explore …
Mathematics
July 8, 2020
An Invitation to Applied Category Theory
Seven Sketches in Compositionality
Brendan Fong and David I. Spivak
Hosted by Cory Brunson
Category theory is well-known for abstraction—concepts and tools from diverse fields being recognized as specific cases of more foundational structures—though the field has always been driven and shaped by the …
Sports
June 25, 2020
The Hot Hand
The Mystery and Science of Streaks
Ben Cohen
Hosted by Paul Knepper
For decades, statisticians, social scientists, psychologists, and economists (among them Nobel Prize winners) have spent massive amounts of precious time thinking about whether streaks actually exist. After all, a substantial …
Religion
June 2, 2020
Until the End of Time
Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe
Brian Greene
Hosted by John Weston
Brian Greene is a Professor of Mathematics and Physics at Columbia University in the City of New York, where he is the Director of the Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and …
Mathematics
May 29, 2020
Discrete Mathematics with Ducks (Second Edition)
sarah-marie belcastro
Hosted by Cory Brunson
Introductory courses in discrete mathematics cover a variety of distinctive but interconnected topics, from the underpinnings of logic and set theory through overviews of combinatorics and graph theory, which lend …
Art
April 22, 2020
Beautiful Symmetry
A Coloring Book about Math
Alex Berke
Hosted by Jim Stein
Alex Berke's Beautiful Symmetry (MIT Press, 2020) is both a fascinating book and a concept -- it's like no other book I’ve ever read. It's a coloring book about math …
Communications
April 3, 2020
Hot Molecules, Cold Electrons
From the Mathematics of Heat to the Development of the Trans-Atlantic Telegraph Cable
Paul J. Nahin
Hosted by Jim Stein
Hot Molecules, Cold Electrons: From the Mathematics of Heat to the Development of the Trans-Atlantic Telegraph Cable (Princeton University Press, 2020), by Paul Nahin, is a book that is meant …
Language
March 30, 2020
Sleight of Mind
75 Ingenious Paradoxes in Mathematics, Physics, and Philosophy
Matt Cook
Hosted by Jim Stein
Paradox is a sophisticated kind of magic trick. A magician's purpose is to create the appearance of impossibility, to pull a rabbit from an empty hat. Yet paradox doesn't require …
Biography
March 10, 2020
Math Makers
The Lives and Works of 50 Famous Mathematicians
Alfred S. Posamentier
Hosted by Jim Stein
Today I talked to Alfred S. Posamentier, a co-author (with Christian Spreitzer) of Math Makers: The Lives and Works of 50 Famous Mathematicians (Prometheus, 2020). This charming book is more …
Mathematics
February 26, 2020
Geometry
The Line and the Circle
Maureen T. Carroll and Elyn Rykken
Hosted by Cory Brunson
From an undergraduate perspective, coming from the rigid proofs and concrete constructions of middle- or high-school courses, the broad discipline of geometry can be at once intimately familiar and menacingly …
American Studies
January 29, 2020
Scouting and Scoring
How We Know What We Know About Baseball
Christopher J. Phillips
Hosted by Michael McGovern
The so-called Sabermetrics revolution in baseball that began in the 1970s, popularized by the book—and later Hollywood film—Moneyball, was supposed to represent a triumph of observation over intuition. Cash-strapped clubs …
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