February newslets

[Posted on february 21, 2016]

Spotted recently:

  • a fascinating discussion is taking place between Sir Timothy Gowers and Nikolai V. Ivanov on the future of mathematics with respect to the development of AI (the background being the two cultures paper of Sir Gowers, several posts on Ivanov’s blog starting here, and the 2013 paper of Ganesalingam-Gowers –which has yet to appear, apparently–, which Sir Gowers discussed again last year in Cambridge and in London)
  • the theoretical aspects of the recent discovery of gravitationnal waves by LIGO are being presented at IHÉS :  there is a dedicated website and also videos of a very clear four-part physics crash course by Thibault Damour, a central contributor in analytical relativity. Asking about these LIGO results on MO is/was apparently contentious… As for the mathematics involved in the signal detection, the CNRS website mentions Wilson wavelets.
  • Cédric Villani, in a very well written and documented article, discussed the current position of english as the universal langage for research. Trying to guess what would happen in the next few years or decades when automatic translation of scientific papers reaches maturity he sees 3 possibilities : Babel Tower, Universalist, Altruistic (for more see the article). Of course we are not there yet, so he concludes “Learning English is still a good idea.”  In comments, some other opinions are expressed, to which he replies.
  • the initial list of candidates for one of the 11 junior permanent positions at CNRS in pure & applied maths has appeared, it has 261 names so the ratio this year is 23.7 candidates per position…

Gonepteryx rhammi by xulescu_g on flickr

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