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Philosophy Talk

The Mysterious Timelessness of Math

Saad Ahmad

Is math like an abstract painting—beautiful equations, with no connection to the world—or is it more like a blueprint for the universe?

Math is a really useful subject—at least, that's what your parents and teachers told you. But math also leads to scenarios, like Zeno's paradoxes, that seem to inspire skepticism. So why do we believe in math and rely on it to build bridges and spaceships? How can anyone discover the secrets of the universe by simply scribbling numbers on a piece of paper? Is math some kind of magic, or does it have a more ordinary explanation? And could math be culturally relative, or are its concepts timeless and universal? Josh and Ray add things up with Arezoo Islami from SF State University. Sunday, January 21 at 11 am.

Devon Strolovitch studied medieval Judeo-Portuguese manuscripts and earned a PhD in Linguistics from Cornell University before coming to KALW. He is the Senior Producer of Philosophy Talk, and since 2007 has hosted Fog City Blues, the weekly digest of Blues in the Bay Area and beyond.