Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Magic of Numbers

Our next meeting is on Thursday 10th July at the normal time of 7.00pm at the White Rock Hotel

The subject this month will be:  The magic of numbers

If the Scientific Method is a key to the philosophy of Humanism,
and Maths is the language of Science,  
then numbers are the alphabet of maths.

Numbers have the capacity to reveal a type of truth that is independent of opinion, even overwhelming conventional wisdoms. To make the point we will start with a short quiz on the facts that ‘everybody knows’ and compare them to the actual facts… then a gallop through some interesting stuff about numbers:

                    The history of numbers and the resulting change in human understanding
o   Roman numerals that could not be manipulated,
o   The invention of zero and negative numbers
o   The concept of infinity
o   The maths concept of ‘i’ (square root of -1)
                    Universal constants like Pi that a clever alien would be able to recognise and understand even though there are no other reference points.
                    A definition of what numbers are…Bertrand Russell’s ‘Principia Mathematica’
                    New facilities for making maths easy to access and might lift the fear for future generations  – Khan academy and Wolfram
                    And fun things to do with numbers

I know a lot of people find the whole concept of maths totally off-putting and scary. But I think it is like any other language; once you understand a little bit of the vocabulary, you might end up loving the simplicity and poetry of its better writers.

Stephen Milton

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