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Is God a Mathematician?

Mario Livio
Senior Astrophysicist
Space Telescope Science Institute

For centuries, mathematical theories have proven uncannily accurate at describing—and predicting—the physical world. What is it that gives mathematics such powers? In this talk I will examine such fields as mathematics, cosmology, physics, and the cognitive sciences, and will attempt to offer an accessible and lively account of the lives and thoughts of some of the greatest mathematicians and scientists in history, from Archimedes to Galileo and Descartes, and from Newton to Hilbert and Gödel, on up to the present day. Along the way I will discuss another question with which mathematicians, philosophers, and neuroscientists have struggled for centuries: Is mathematics ultimately invented or discovered?

Dr. Mario Livio's new book, Is God a Mathematician?, will be available for review and purchase before and after the talk. An acclaimed author and popular lecturer, he last spoke at NIST in 2004 (Beauty in a Dark Universe).

Anyone outside NIST wishing to attend must be sponsored by a NIST employee and receive a visitor badge. For more information, call Kum J. Ham at 301-975-4203.

Colloquia are videotaped and available in the NIST Research Library.

Created October 23, 2009, Updated November 15, 2019