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Text Math

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Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 11:33 am    Post subject: Text Math Reply with quote

I was reading a book about anarchical systems, defined in the mathematics of Nash equilibria.

But the author made one offhand comment about how it takes lines and lines of equations in flow analysis to explain something that can be said in a sentence or two.

Hold the presses. Isn't it supposed to be the opposite? Isn't math supposed to be the more compact way of describing something, one that allows us to not only understand, but manipulate that understanding more freely in order to get even more knowledge about the "rules" of the universe?

I challenge mathematics lately I wonder, is text, and especially the written English language, a far more powerful manipulation and description tool?

When you really dig deep, I find that many scientists "apply math" to a discipline in order to gain credibility. They want to get the big grants like the physicists...but even the physicists are tearing their playhouses down. Are the glorified Schoedinger wave equations all that elegant and descriptive any more when we've moved on to M-theory and 11 dimensions.

Here's a basic problem of math -- it's really one dimensional. I mean, it goes from left to right. There's no spreadsheet math, that throws up a lot of stuff all at once and lets things figure themselves out.

You may say, yes, but written English is like that. However, in a sentence, I can easily describe the concept of such a system. I can easily say to you, an 11 dimensional spreadsheet or massive multiplayer game that "runs" all calculations in the universe.

Such a thing would take tomes of math to describe. And even more to manipulate.

I think for many scientists we need to concentrate on the descriptive, and manipulative power, of written language.
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