Science, Mathematics and Beauty

Date & time: 11 Nov 2015, 18:00 GMT | Speaker: Andy McIntosh | Duration: 1 hour 30 min
Topic: Science
Andy McIntosh's picture

There is a property of Mathematics when rightly used, which intrigues scientists. It is often found that when one applies Mathematics correctly to one discipline, that the form of the equations obtained turn out to be the same in a completely different discipline. An example is Poisson’s equation which occurs in electricity, heat and Newtonian gravity. Other examples in geometry are the ubiquity of the number pi and ‘e’ the base of natural logarithms. The profundity of mathematics combined with its elegance has astonished modern mathematicians such as Eugene Wigner (author of ‘The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences’) and Roger Penrose (author of ‘The Emperor’s New Mind’), and is connected to the order and inherent beauty of the created cosmos. The profound question emerges “if numbers are not material, do they exist?” and the question of abstract truth which is not defined by matter and energy and shooting neurons raises an important apologetic for the transcendent majesty of God.

This talk will deal with a number of examples of the intriguing beauty and power of mathematics. Mathematics is more than a language and a tool of logic. When used to describe the physics of one system it is surprising how many other disciplines reflect the same principles so that the form of the equations can be similar. But we need to get underneath this and start with an even more fundamental concept concerning number itself. 

We will consider firstly the nature of abstract thought – the reality / ontology of logic. We will then consider the nature of mathematics and its connection to reality. We will then examine the language of mathematics and show that the only consistent reality that is coherent and works in science is one which accepts mind as more than matter and that abstract truth, meaning and purpose are realities which are transcendent to the physical Universe.

The power of mathematics is really a very strong argument for the existence of the transcendent God over all, and in whose image we are made.

We will lastly consider some well known examples of mathematics which cross over from one discipline to another.