Want to hear me talking about something other than chess?
Last week the Irish radio station, RTÉ Lyric FM, broadcast a three-part interview with me on a program called The Culture File, hosted by Luke Clancy. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to record this interview about my book, The Universe in Zero Words, because one of my main objectives in the book is to show how mathematics interacts with our culture.
I enjoyed talking with Luke, because he really “got it.” He had obviously read The Universe in Zero Words carefully, and asked many incisive questions. Luke, too, had a great time in our interview! He had intended just to record just a five-minute segment for the radio, but our conversation ended up lasting almost an hour. Out of this he distilled three five-minute segments that played on the air, plus a fourth “bonus” segment that is only available online.
Even if you don’t live in Ireland, you can hear what I had to say by clicking on the following links:
Podcast 1: I talk about Henri Poincaré’s discovery of chaos in the 1890s, why the culture of that era was not prepared to assimilate such a discovery, and why it was much easier for mathematicians to make sense of it in the 1970s and 1980s.
Podcast 2: Here Luke asked me to talk about the simplest of all equations, 1+1 = 2, and why it is not as simple as it looks. Also, I talked about the discovery of non-Euclidean geometry. In my book (and in the podcast) I argue that if whales had developed geometry, they would see non-Euclidean geometry as natural, and our Euclidean geometry as strange.
Podcast 3: I talk about the Black-Scholes equation, which is used to set market prices for financial derivatives, and which is based on the same mathematics that underlies the diffusion of gases. I also talk about a fatal flaw in (the original version of) this equation, a flaw that helped bring about the credit crisis of 2007.
Podcast 4 (of 3!): In this online extra, I talk about William Rowan Hamilton, one of the greatest Irish mathematicians (an appropriate topic for Irish radio!). I also speculate on the “Promethean” quality of mathematics, meaning its ability to create entire new worlds.
Please tune in and leave a comment!