From prehistoric times onward, people have always found ways to incorporate mathematical thinking into art. Today, we have sophisticated mathematical machinery that we can use both to understand the rules that underlie historical patterns and to describe new designs of great beauty and originality. Better yet, computers can serve as a powerful artistic tool, helping make these mathematical visions a reality. This talk will explore some of the exciting contemporary work that lies in the intersection of mathematics and art.
The origin and evolution of the largest observable structures in the universe (much larger than entire galaxies); understanding why the expansion of the universe is accelerating. Observational techniques: cosmic microwave background, gravitational lensing and gravity waves.
Cosmology and cosmological implications of quantum gravity. Observable effects in cosmology help to identify the limits of general relativity, which could potentially be surpassed by modified theories of gravity and/or quantum gravity.
Applying the lessons learned in quantum information theory to gain a better understanding of quantum mechanics itself. Is quantum theory simply a new type of probability theory? Exploring new directions towards combining quantum theory with gravity.
What, exactly, happened around the time of the Big Bang? Exploring new models inspired by superstring theory and supergravity, e.g. ones in which we live on “branes” that collide with a “big bang”. Satellite experiments to test such models.
Applications of quantum theory to cryptography and computation; understanding in more concrete, physical terms what quantum theory is telling us about the nature of reality. Applications of information theory to better understand the quantum “wave function”.
Inside Harvard College Observatory in 1904, a young woman named Henrietta Swan Leavitt sat hunched over a stack of glass photographic plates, patiently counting stars. The images had been taken by a telescope high in the Peruvian Andes, and Miss Leavitt was given the tedious chore of measuring the brightness of thousands of tiny lights, something that would now be done by machine. Her job title was \'computer,\' but during the next few years she rose above her station as a tabulator of data and discovered a new law, one that would change forever our view of the universe.
From Levins recent book comes a strange if true story of coded secrets, psychotic delusions, mathematics, and war. This story of greatness and weakness, of genius and delusion, circulates around the parallel lives of Kurt Gödel, the greatest logician of many centuries, and Alan Turing, the extraordinary code breaker during World War II. Taken together their work proved that there are limits to knowledge, that machines could be taught to compute, that one day there could be artificial intelligence.
Galileos campaign on behalf of the modern view of the solar system is one of the most dramatic events in the history of relations between Christianity and science endlessly portrayed as a battle between theological interests and scientific freedom. But this traditional story is filled with factual errors. And when human fears, rivalries, revenge and the like are taken into account, the story takes on an altogether different cast. In Professor Lindbergs retelling, the ideological side of the story will be balanced with its richness as a human event.