January 8, 2014

Into the Heart of Mathematics

People, Places, and Ideas: Episode #12

As a society, we are pretty conflicted about mathematics. On one hand, we recognize that math has allowed us to achieve some amazing things, including space travel and much of our technology. Yet, math gets a bad rap in popular culture. In movies and tv shows, we're more likely to see kids complaining about or struggling with algebra and calculus than enjoying them. But what's so scary about math? For those of us who might have shied away from it in the past, John E. McCarthy, the Spencer T. Olin Professor of Mathematics at Washington University, breaks math down to its most fundamental essence and explains how both pure and applied mathematics are only another way to examine and understand our world.

image flickr: world bank photo collection. audio Free music archive: blammo, the singing statues, the illuminated highway/ urban exodus.