Dangerous Minds

The documentary linked to by The Other Ellis on uncertainty driving mathematicians insane / to suicide is very good. Beautifully filmed and describing one of the most turbulent periods of modern history and science.

Not only does it deliver with nerd-boner subject matter, it also features Roger Penrose, one of my science heroes (and is someone i now feel slightly guilty about including in a sentence with the term ‘nerd-boner’… twice). And, that despite me really struggling with most of his books. “Hard work” doesn’t even begin to describe my struggles with Shadows of the Mind.

The degree to which people fight against the uncertainty of modern science has obviously diminished since Cantor and Boltzmann’s days, presumably largely due to the clarity and succinct nature of Gödel’s proof, and the discoveries in quantum mechanics. Still, at the level of society there still seems to be a need, a desire, for science to step into the role, previously filled by the church, of providing certainty, giving absolute clarity. That’s unfortunate as it stops people from accepting that there are some things that we just don’t / can’t know with any degree of certainty.

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Wise words...

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