Would You Missout a Lot in Math If You Don't Know Physics?

By Xah Lee. Date: .

xah edu corner, extempore!

tons of accomplished mathematicians know nothing of physics!

let's see, from top of my head, Turing, alonzo church, godel, J H Conway, Coxeter, Poncelet, Pascal (early projective geometers with synthetic methods)...

i probably got some wrong.

and basically, most practical physics are related to just analysis and differential geometry stuff. And half of math has nothing to do with physics.

the whole pure computer science branch (formal languages, computability, recursion theory...), entire branch of math under logic (math foundation issues), and most discrete or finite stuff (graph theory, knot, number theory, combinatorics, game theory, tiling theory, discrete geometry, linear programing...)

of course, lots connections among when advanced enough.

well, if can live again, i would some physics... but then again, i don't know biology, chemistry, neuroscience ... many of which i'd find interesting!

but if you look at the incredible advances in past 20 years, i'd say, it's mostly due to communication tech, namely, the internet!

and our daily life, online shopping, social network, cellphone, google maps, all, due to, computing! cryptology, digital transactions!

they, mostly, have nothing to do with traditionally considered respectable branches of math, namely, algebra, analysis, geometry.

And due to the this computing stuff, which, in my view, is propelling all other sciences. It allows physics to compute and simulate that otherwise is impossible. It advances math such as dynamical systems, and mostly, email, video chat, social network, allow mathematicians to talk outside of ivory tower. It allows, building of rockets (spaceX! NASA! space station!) and visions of traveling to marsX. ... And we have credit cards, ATM, uber taxi that requires a iPhone!

computing, is truly fueling the advances of all sciences of past 20 years. (not to mention the side effect of creating mega billionairs such as google facebook amazon founders, which in turn, changes society's power structure (and the impending threat of censorship at scale))

not to mention the oncoming of AI, a term that we can now accept as here. Namely, that AlphaGo beat human go champion, and by far. A feat that even 3 years ago is considered either impossible or need more decades. This is, to me and many, is certain life time view changing event.

the science of AI, really have little to do with traditional math of academia. Rather, lots of computer science, and computer programing, computer engineering, and formal logic, and computer chips! (ok, and statistics, which also means, analysis.)

and those big telescopes, satellites, GPS, physicists's linear accelerator, all'd be naugt sans the science of computing.

and robotics.

and then, now on the horizon is quantum computing! Imgine it coupled with Artificial Intelligence!

On that note, physics is back!

it's quite interesting, that a practically useless theoretical physics stuff wakes and is about to have major impact of our world!

not unlike, two thousand years of conic sections jumping to moon landing! and number theory found a lover in cryptography after 2 thousand years!

so, if you don't know trignometry, calculus, differential equations, no problem.