MY AMERICAN SCIENTIST
LOG IN! REGISTER!
SEARCH
 
RSS
Logo IMG
HOME > ON THE BOOKSHELF > COMMENTS > Comment Detail

Modernism in Mathematics


Comment

After reading Prof. Fefferman’s stimulating review of Jeremy Gray’s , “Plato’s Ghost,” in the Sept.-Oct. 2009 issue, I obtained a copy of the book, and read the section entitled, “The Rise of Mathematical Platonism,” to see whether there were any applications of mathematical Platonism to cosmology. The only one I could find stems from Gray’s quotation of the mathematician, Alain Connes, who maintains, “There exists independently of the human mind, a raw and immutable reality,” that indeed is, “far more stable than physical reality for not being located in space-time.” An application of this view to cosmology would be that mathematics did not spring into existence with the Big Bang, but existed before it. However if this view is to be scientific, then according to Popper’s criterion, it must be falsifiable empirically. The simplest way this could come about would be if the universe had an earlier state that eventually collapsed into the Big Crunch and then bounced into the Big Bang. But, if Einstein’s cosmological constant were present in that previous universe, it could not have been dominant, otherwise that universe would not have collapsed, but accelerated to infinity. The same would hold true for a form of quintessence (frequently proposed as an alternative to the cosmological term) that did not allow that previous universe to collapse. Thus it would appear that if mathematical Platonism is scientific, in the sense of Popper, it has important implications for cosmology.

posted by Frank Tangherlini
August 28, 2009

 

Connect With Us:

    Pinterest Icon Google+ Icon Twitter Icon Facebook Icon Sm


Pizza Lunch Podcasts

African Penguins"Penguins are 10 times older than humans and have been here for a very, very long time," said Daniel Ksepka, Ph.D., a North Carolina State University research assistant professor. Dr. Ksepka researches the evolution of penguins and how they came to inhabit the African continent.

Because penguins have been around for over 60 million years, their fossil record is extensive. Fossils that Dr. Ksepka and his colleagues have discovered provide clues about migration patterns and the diversity of penguin species.

Click the Title to view all of our Pizza Lunch Podcasts!


Subscribe to Free eNewsletters!

  • Sigma Xi SmartBrief:

    A free daily summary of the latest news in scientific research. Each story is summarized concisely and linked directly to the original source for further reading.

  • American Scientist Update

  • An early peek at each new issue, with descriptions of feature articles, columns, Science Observers and more. Every other issue contains links to everything in the latest issue's table of contents.

  • Scientists' Nightstand

  • News of book reviews published in American Scientist and around the web, as well as other noteworthy happenings in the world of science books.

    To sign up for automatic emails of the American Scientist Update and Scientists' Nightstand issues, create an online profile, then sign up in the My AmSci area.


Subscribe to American Scientist