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Author Topic: Favorite Mathematician/Physicist/Scientist  (Read 2501 times)
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Lee Oliver
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« on: June 18, 2010, 01:58:30 AM »

Who is your favorite and why?  I really like J. Richard Gott because of his views in cosmology.  I also like Michio Kaku for his work in M-theory.

I will enclose a paper by Gott if anyone is interested:

http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/astro-ph/pdf/9712/9712344v1.pdf
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Sockratease
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« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2010, 02:48:34 AM »

Favorite Mathematician - Bertrand Russell!!  Because he was The Grandfather of All Hippies and it took him 362 pages in Principia Mathematica to finally PROVE that 1 + 1 = 2.  afro

Favorite Physicist - Paul Dirac.  I've always had a soft spot for Donkey Electrons!  canadian

Favorite Scientist - ME!  Who else?   bubble gum
« Last Edit: June 18, 2010, 11:13:20 AM by Sockratease, Reason: Speelinf Eroorz » Logged

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aluminumstudios
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« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2010, 06:44:51 AM »

Definitely Carl Sagan.  The man was brilliant, extremely well spoken, and insightful.  He had a deep appreciation not just for science, but for history, our planet, and our relationship to it all.  He could communicate with scientists and non-scientists alike and felt that education was paramount.  If the world had more people like him it would would be a much better place.

RIP Carl
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hobold
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« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2010, 02:37:33 PM »

I am afraid that I, too, would make my choice not for the scientific achievements, but for the things those people did outside their scientific careers.

Carl Sagan, for example, has done a lot for science by being an evangelist of two fundamental ideas: 1. The world can be rigorously explained; 2. It should be.

For similar reasons, I am fond of scientists who ventured into storytelling. Some of them were able to convey a great optimism with regards to what is knowable and what is doable; Larry Niven is perhaps the most courageous architect of those. Others are able to spread great confidence that the scientific method can and will eventually encompass everything that seems "magical" now, and that the world will still remain ... "human" and worth living in. That reminds me that I wanted to say something to Rudy: "Thanks! Your work has enriched my life!"
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Nahee_Enterprises
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« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2010, 11:54:58 PM »

    Who is your favorite and why?

    Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci

An Italian polymath:  painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer.  He has often been described as the archetype of the Renaissance man, a man whose unquenchable curiosity was equaled only by his powers of invention.  He is widely considered to be perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived, and one of the greatest painters of all time.

He probably would have been a great Physicist if he had been born a few hundred years later.
 
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David Makin
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« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2010, 02:12:47 AM »

Mathematician - Tom Lehrer

Physicist - Terry Pratchet (Discworld is as likely to be real as what phycisists tell us - it's obvious that time travel is really impossible since time is simply fractal-based state change in a dynamical system and the 4th dimension is actually Mass - but hey I only took Physics to "O" level)

Scientist - H G Wells

I wouldn't dare choose favourites "seriously", I'm not educated enough, though if you can watch it I recommend this while it's still available:

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/genius-of-britain/episode-guide/series-1

Based on that I guess I'd pick Newton as my physicist cuz he was a little messed up and anyone who sticks something in their eye socket in the name of science gets my vote wink
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reesej2
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« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2010, 06:37:38 AM »

My favorite mathematician: John Conway. One of the few people left who are great mathematicians but aren't hyperspecialized. He's made breakthroughs in game theory, group theory, and set theory. Also, you know, Conway's Game of Life and all that.

Though Russell's a close second. And after that, Kurt Godel (that o should have an umlaut but I'm too lazy to figure out how). The guy was insane by the end, but have you ever seen the Incompleteness Theorems? Beautiful. Also, his idea of a birthday gift to Albert Einstein was to come up with a potential problem with the theory of relativity.
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Nahee_Enterprises
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« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2010, 10:05:34 AM »

    And after that, Kurt Godel (that "o" should have an umlaut
    but I'm too lazy to figure out how).

        ö

If you are on a Windows system, then just bring up the Character Map utility program.  It will allow you to copy and paste, or show you the keyboard shortcut: ALT+0246  (of course that is with the numeric key pad).  But the easiest way is to do a Google search on the name and then copy it from a web page, such as Wikipedia.
 
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visual.bermarte
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« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2010, 01:05:38 PM »

'Though Russell's a close second. And after that, Kurt Gödel'
I agree, I like also Chomsky, Montague and Kripke..
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Bent-Winged Angel
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« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2010, 09:17:46 PM »

The one who can stop the oil spill of the Golf Coast.  Clean up the mess & normalize the eco-system. cry sad
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Calcyman
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« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2010, 09:38:47 PM »

Quote
My favorite mathematician: John Conway.

Agreed. He has invented (Platonists would say 'discovered') three sporadic groups, and a new set of numbers that transcend the reals and Cantor's infinite ordinals. His contributions to recreational mathematics are equally, if not more, interesting. For example, he has found a bijection between games such as chess and a set of numbers even greater than the surreal numbers, which I am inclined to call 'ethereal numbers'.

Alan Turing, von Neumann and Leibniz are on my list of favourites, as well.
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lycium
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« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2010, 01:53:36 AM »

Ramanujan / Feynman / Tesla
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hobold
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« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2010, 03:48:38 PM »

( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Srinivasa_Ramanujan )

His way of doing math was certainly not of this world. Both Feynman and Tesla had a touch of the same divine inspiration. As far as I can tell, us mere mortal theoreticians are getting only the faintest whiff of that same flavour. A great allure emanates from it, though.
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Calcyman
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« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2010, 10:15:10 PM »

Srinivasa Ramanujan is the only person to independently re-discover an entire century of Western mathematics.

And, he gave us the all-important 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + ... = -1/12 identity.

It's a shame he passed away so suddenly (due to tuberculosis, I believe).
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