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Postulate: Mathematics need nightclubs

Given: Mathematics needs many mathematicians; Many mathematicians require bars; Nightclub = bar.

QED. ;)

 

Anecdotally, when I was in school, I went to all the math conferences my school would pay my way to, and spent much productive time discussing continuity, infinity, and other mathic stuff in alcohol-serving establishments, intuition seemingly enhanced by their sweet, sweet booze.

 

As in all areas of life, though, social besottedness maps plexi of impediments onto the pursuit of mathematics, usually in the form of social fallout over conjugation of a non-numerical nature. In my modest undergrad “career”, if worthy of the title, I had my share. Though details are unclear, one of the greatest abstract algebraists ever, Galois, was killed in 1832, at age 20, in a duel, likely according over a woman, as he described it " the victim of an infamous coquette and her two dupes."

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Postulate: Mathematics need nightclubs

Given: Mathematics needs many mathematicians; Many mathematicians require bars; Nightclub = bar.

QED. ;)

 

Anecdotally, when I was in school, I went to all the math conferences my school would pay my way to, and spent much productive time discussing continuity, infinity, and other mathic stuff in alcohol-serving establishments, intuition seemingly enhanced by their sweet, sweet booze.

 

As in all areas of life, though, social besottedness maps plexi of impediments onto the pursuit of mathematics, usually in the form of social fallout over conjugation of a non-numerical nature. In my modest undergrad “career”, if worthy of the title, I had my share. Though details are unclear, one of the greatest abstract algebraists ever, Galois, was killed in 1832, at age 20, in a duel, likely according over a woman, as he described it " the victim of an infamous coquette and her two dupes."

I consider it possible that numbers and concepts need nightclubs, and social venues.

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I consider it possible that numbers and concepts need nightclubs, and social venues.

The intuitive realization that math and science are social is considered by most people I know of the mathic and scientific kind as a major rite of passage and epiphany for young folk of our kind.

 

My experience, coming from a soft, creative academic background (my 1st college major was English, my 2nd Fine Art) then switching to a hard, formal one (my 3rd and final was Math) was one of gradual disabuse of the idea that math was a precise, purely formal activity, guided by intuition but independent of social interaction. A large part of that was realizing that the concept of mathematic proof, for all but purely elementary ones, is not the completely algorithmic generation of theorems from postulates that our education leads us to believe, but involves a lot of simple, social convincing of your peers and mentors that a proof is right, and also, in the best case, deep, elegant, and beautiful. That can be every bit as social as what goes on when you’re explaining your artwork to gallery goers.

 

For me, this realization was at once both disillusioning and liberating. I was (and still am) drawn to math by its promise of methods of finding truth unbiased by social and psychological factors. Yet mathematicians and scientists are human, social animals, with an unfortunate penchant to deny this. Accepting it is liberating.

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The intuitive realization that math and science are social is considered by most people I know of the mathic and scientific kind as a major rite of passage and epiphany for young folk of our kind.

 

My experience, coming from a soft, creative academic background (my 1st college major was English, my 2nd Fine Art) then switching to a hard, formal one (my 3rd and final was Math) was one of gradual disabuse of the idea that math was a precise, purely formal activity, guided by intuition but independent of social interaction. A large part of that was realizing that the concept of mathematic proof, for all but purely elementary ones, is not the completely algorithmic generation of theorems from postulates that our education leads us to believe, but involves a lot of simple, social convincing of your peers and mentors that a proof is right, and also, in the best case, deep, elegant, and beautiful. That can be every bit as social as what goes on when you’re explaining your artwork to gallery goers.

 

For me, this realization was at once both disillusioning and liberating. I was (and still am) drawn to math by its promise of methods of finding truth unbiased by social and psychological factors. Yet mathematicians and scientists are human, social animals, with an unfortunate penchant to deny this. Accepting it is liberating.

I understand. I literally think mathematical theorems are in a causal link to society; the mystery has to be why this link exists, if it exists.

Assuming there is a link, is truth that the link is meant to be understood as a link?

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