Category Archives: – By the Mathematician

Q: How do you answer a question scientifically?

Mathematician: Suppose you’re interested in answering a simple question: how effective is aspirin at relieving headaches? If you want to have conviction in the answer, you’ll need to think surprisingly carefully about how you approach this question. A first idea … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Mathematician, Math, Philosophical, Probability | 1 Comment

Q: How would the universe be different if π = 3?

Physicist: We sometimes get questions about physical constants changing, and those questions make sense because there’s no real reason for the constants to be what they are.  But π is mathematically derivable; it kinda needs to be what it is.  You … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Mathematician, -- By the Physicist, Geometry, Math, Philosophical, Physics | 22 Comments

Q: Are beautiful, elegant or simple equations more likely to be true?

Mathematician: It is not uncommon to hear physicists or mathematicians talk about the beauty, simplicity or elegance of equations or theorems, and even claim that they are sometimes led to a correct formula (or away from an incorrect one) by … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Mathematician, Equations, Math, Philosophical, Physics | 12 Comments

π day!

We suddenly got hit with a barrage of π questions today.  Turns out it’s not a coincidence. π is defined, very humbly, as the ratio of the circumference of any circle to its diameter.  From that definition alone it’s managed … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Mathematician, -- By the Physicist, Math | 13 Comments

Q: Do you need faith to believe in science?

Mathematician: This question could mean a few different things, depending on what is meant by the word “faith.” Let’s start with the dictionary definitions. 1. Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Mathematician, -- By the Physicist, Philosophical, Skepticism | 23 Comments

Q: What is Bayes’ rule and how do I use it to improve my life?

Mathematician: Bayes’ theorem in one of the most practically useful equations coming from the field of probability. If you take its implications to heart it will make you better at figuring out the truth in a variety of situations. What … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Mathematician, Equations, Math, Probability | 6 Comments