A New Book Examines the Relationship between Math and Physics

Scientific American's Steve Mirsky writes about The Universe Speaks in Numbers symposium at IAS, inspired by frequent Director's Visitor Graham Farmelo's new book by the same title. On the topic explored in the symposium and book – the interplay between mathematics and physics – Mirsky quotes IAS Director Robbert Dijkgraaf, IAS Professors Nima Arkani-Hamed and Freeman Dyson, IAS Distinguished Visiting Professor Karen Uhlenbeck, and former IAS Professor Michael Atiyah.

"When asked what the most important questions were still to be addressed by physics and math, Dyson said, 'The question of what's important is entirely a matter of taste. I like to think of going to the zoo … you can either admire the architecture of the zoo or you can admire the animals. And so, at the present time, mathematicians are very busy admiring the architecture. The physicists are admiring the animals. Which is actually more important isn't to me the interesting question. The interesting question is, Why do they fit so well?'"

Read more at Scientific American.