Mathematical dark matter

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2024-05-30 03:30:05

If you’re reading this, you are probably quite impressed with maths. It explains everything; The scientists are just scrabbling in the foothills of the mathematicians; It is the purest human activity, the least and most human.

(Just one thing we paper over: We can’t derive masses - the Yukawa couplings are free parameters. “The ultimate reason for these couplings is not known: it would be something that a better, deeper theory should explain.”)

It was pretty far into my mathematics education that I realised: one of the reasons mathematics always seems to have all the answers was that the teachers were the ones choosing the questions.

If a mathematician attacks a problem which is completely beyond the range of the ideas available to him, he publishes no papers and leaves no trace in mathematical history. Other mathematicians, attacking problems within their powers, publish discoveries. Unconsciously, therefore, the map of mathematical knowledge comes to resemble the map of problems soluble by given tools.

We don’t focus on phenomena which are hard to model / we don’t report our terrible results from trying to model them. So science looks omnipotent and clean.

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