The Mathematical Language of Nature

"The question is: Can you develop the rich mathematics of those theories in order to advance and maybe even work towards a unified understanding of those basic forces, which is something that the string framework purports to do? . . . I wanted to represent the case that these great theorists—Edward Witten, Nima Arkani-Hamed, and Juan Maldacena here at the Institute, and many others elsewhere—they are working in the tradition that in fact goes back to Einstein and all the way back to Maxwell and Newton."

Graham Farmelo, frequent Director's Visitor, joins Steve Mirsky for an episode of Scientific American's Science Talk podcast for a discussion of Farmelo's new book The Universe Speaks in Numbers: How Modern Math Reveals Nature's Deepest Secrets (Basic Books, 2019). The book, which Farmelo worked on while at IAS, features contributions from several Institute theoreticians, including Robbert Dijkgraaf, Director and Leon Levy Professor, and Professors in the School of Natural Sciences Edward Witten, Nima Arkani-Hamed, Juan Maldacena, and Freeman J. Dyson, among others.

Listen at Scientific American, and read an excerpt from the book here.