Sembrerebbe che abbia esordito giovanissimo, addirittura la sua stessa nascita nasconderebbe una menzogna. Infatti, sebbene tutti lo conoscano come figlio di Laerte re di Itaca e Anticlea, figlia del famoso ladro Autolico, Ulisse era invece figlio di Sisifo e Anticlea. Ma torniamo alle bugie di Ulisse. Ma Ulisse era tanto bravo a costruire gli inganni, quanto a scoprirli.
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How was it for you? Speaking at a science festival is great but you are preaching to the choir. That is why I was very interested in the invitation to go into prisons to talk about maths as I hope that I would reach an audience that might not have appreciated how beautiful maths is.
A prison community is as varied as the rest of society so I was struck by how differently people reacted to my sessions. Some were fascinated. Some were bored, just happy to be out of their cells for an hour. I think that there was an appetite to find something meaningful to dedicate their time inside to pursue. I think emotional is a good word to describe the experience.
It is very frightening to think of having your liberty taken away from you so to see men coping with the experience was quite moving. CM: I have been teaching in the little prison of Siena since Every year, every month my students are different someone has gone out, someone else has been moved to another prison after the trial, etc… and it is not easy to follow a regular programme like outside. Your interesting documentaries or anecdotes are perfect for this particular situation. What could be the role of math in such a context?
If they have a math problem to solve, they do not think of the trial or of the family who is far from them. MdS: I absolutely agree that mathematics can provide a wonderful mental escapism and this is why I thought it was perfect for bringing into a prison setting.
You can escape your physical cell by travelling in the mind. One of the things that I could see was frustrating for inmates was the issue of transience. They are often moved around from one prison to another. This means it is very difficult to maintain a sustained programme of education.
One of the challenges of maths is that you build it like a pyramid in logical layers so it is tough if you miss a later. Telling small stories is the best way and I think that is why the programme like the Story of Maths is helpful. It breaks the subject up into small bits that people can discuss. CM: Inmates in Italy like everywhere are from different countries and often cannot speak Italian, but they love math and numbers. Is math really a universal language? Or does it depend on how you started to learn it?
MdS I have had amazing experiences travelling the world and interacting with other mathematicians. The only other subject that I find so universal is football! I always love how science fiction writers use maths as their language for humans to communicate with aliens visiting earth.
Carl Sagan used prime numbers in Cosmos. I helped support a local school who chose maths and music as a speciality because these were both languages that could unite the very mixed student body. How important is to make students understand that maths is not just arid computations? And, on the other hand, how hard would it be to show students some parts of the REAL maths?
For example, your documentary about the prime numbers is too difficult for the inmates… MdS: For me I often think there is too much emphasis on utility and that actually we should sometimes enjoy the maths just for the beauty of the ideas. In school I think there is too much emphasis on teaching things which might be useful. I proposed to our government that we should have two maths exams like there are two english exams: maths language and maths literature. Then you could teach exciting stories about primes, infinity, 4D geometry, topology.
The amazing thing though is that even these seemingly esoteric areas can be useful. It is good sometimes just to get a feel for a story. The most important certificate of excellence that an Italian person can give you for your work.
When and why did you start doing this job? MdS: It was my maths teacher at my school who got me excited about maths when I was 12 or It was by telling me some of the big stories about maths that got me fired up. But it was about the same time that I started learning the trumpet.
So I think maths has always been a passion alongside other creative work. I was very lucky to be a student in Oxford. It is a university that encourages interdisciplinary discussion. So I have always enjoyed seeing how maths connects to the other sciences and the humanities.
CM: How useful could a book of popular math be for a student to understand if he can become a mathematician when he grows up? Rather than a physician or an engineer or a painter. MdS: Each discipline has its own language to help us as humans navigate our way through the universe. The trick is finding the language that most resonates with you as an individual. I asked my maths teacher why he singled me out to try to encourage my mathematical passion. He said that he could see me responding to abstract thinking and knew that this would be the perfect language for me.
I think that books are a great way to explore what it might be like to be something else. This is a book about what it means to be a mathematician. He explains that a mathematician is like a painter or a poet, a creative artist not just a useful scientist.
This really appealed to me. Are you still obsessed with prime numbers? CM: Even if I think to know your answer… what is the open problem you would like to see solved? MdS: It is a close call actually.
Not as famous as Riemann and perhaps not as fundamental but it is a problem that I have been working on for years and so it is closer to me. I talk about the problem in my book on Symmetry.
Some months later he died and no one has talked about this proof anymore. At least it is what I know… did Atiyah want to make some kind of insurance like Hardy did? Erdos believed that all babies are born knowing a proof of the Riemann Hypothesis but they forget it before they have developed language. Maybe anyone who proves the Riemann Hypothesis is doomed because they die before they get the chance to explain it.
CM: You have 3 sons: do you think that some of them will follow your steps? Or, like in Italy often happens, they will take different paths? MdS: Actually I have one son and two twin daughters identical of course being a mathematician researching symmetry.
Interestingly my son is biological while my girls are adopted from Guatemala so we are a perfect experiment in Nature v Nurture! I have always encouraged my children to discover what their passion is and to follow that.
My son did physics at university. He likes to see how his maths can apply to the world around him. CM: What do you do in your free time? MdS: Music is my great passion. I started learning the cello a few years ago and one of the things I am most proud of is forming a string quartet. We are called The Firsby Quartet after the name of the road that I live on. One of my great joys is playing the wonderful music that has been written for string quartets.
We are currently playing the beautiful quartet by Ravel. CM: I know you play football. This year, unfortunately for my Juventus, the final match of the Champions League will be played by 2 English teams: Totthenam and Liverpool. What team do you support? MdS: I am an Arsenal supporter.
So I will be cheering for Liverpool. CM: You play the trumpet. For a good composer both technique and fantasy are very important. Like for a mathematician. How important is fantasy or ability of abstraction and how important is the technique when you want to reach a very important goal? MdS: Maths like music needs a combination of skills. You certainly need imagination and creativity and intuition.
But you also need very good technique and formal training to be able to realise your ideas. Can you tell something about it? I know that is a book about AI Artificial intelligence. Now there are many applications which try to simulate human behaviour: SIRI for Apple, Cortana for Windows, etc… and I heard that an algorithm has reached a very good result against the world champion of debate!
MdS: The Creativity Code is about the challenge of whether code can be creative. Or is it still the human who created the code. We are in a new era where code is learning, mutating, evolving thanks to its interaction with the digital environment. So it is beginning to have an autonomy from the original human who wrote the code.
The book explores how the new AI might be creative in other realms like music, visual art, poetry, literature and even maybe mathematics.
Le menzogne di Ulisse: l'avventura della logica da Parmenide ad Amartya Sen
How was it for you? Speaking at a science festival is great but you are preaching to the choir. That is why I was very interested in the invitation to go into prisons to talk about maths as I hope that I would reach an audience that might not have appreciated how beautiful maths is. A prison community is as varied as the rest of society so I was struck by how differently people reacted to my sessions. Some were fascinated. Some were bored, just happy to be out of their cells for an hour. I think that there was an appetite to find something meaningful to dedicate their time inside to pursue.
Le menzogne di Ulisse
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Le menzogne di ulisse – Migliori Prodotti & Opinioni 2020