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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Incomparable Conway


Fa-a-a-antastic post yesterday from Colm Mulcahy on John Conway, about whom, it turns out, there is a biography, "Genius At Play," coming out in July!... Wooo-hooo, 400+ delicious pages on one of the most interesting maths guys around. Anyway, short videos, lotsa good links, and 'tales' to be had below:

http://tinyurl.com/lgtexw6

Also, a much older, longer (and very interesting) Charles Seife piece on Conway here:

http://www.users.cloud9.net/~cgseife/conway.html

Quoting Conway from the Seife piece:
"I'm not so much a mathematician as a teacher. In America, kids aren't supposed to like mathematics. It's so sad... Most people think that mathematics is cold. But it's not at all! For me, the whole damn thing is sensual and exciting. I like what it looks like, and I get a hell of a lot more pleasure out of math than most people do out of art!... I feel like an artist. I like beautiful things -- they're there already; man doesn't have to create it. I don't believe in God, but I believe that nature is unbelievably subtle and clever. In physics, for instance, the real answer to a problem is usually so subtle and surprising that it wasn't even considered in the first place. That the speed of light is a constant -- impossible! Nobody even thought about it. And quantum mechanics is even worse, but it's so beautiful, and it works!... I really do enjoy the beauty of nature -- and math is natural. Nobody could have invented the mathematical universe. It was there, waiting to be discovered, and it's crazy, it's bizarre."

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