Blow Your Mind: Is math a human invention or a human discovery?

BY Robert Lamb / POSTED May 17, 2011
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Love it or hate it, mathematics is a core part of who we are and the universe in which we live.  In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind,  Julie and I take a sweeping look at the world of numbers.

Yes, we’ll kick things off in the cradle with the number sense of infants and lizards. Then we’ll scale the mighty tower of mathematics that has allowed humanity to extend life, understand the mysteries of life and travel beyond the confines of our home planet.

But what is this tower of mathematics made of? When we really get down to it, what IS math? Have we crafted a system that allows us to understand the inner workings of the natural world, or have we in fact uncovered the secret coding of all existence — what Galileo called the language of God?

As a companion piece, do take a look at the HowStuffWorks article “How Math Works” as well as the other number-related  articles linked below. Oh, and if you’re feeling extra mathy following this, be sure to check out my interview with mathematician/turntablist DJ Irk on the link between music and math and how math might aid us in communicating with an intelligent extraterrestrial species.

And if you need any more, then by all means consider reading about Medieval Math as Post-apocalyptic Technology.

So there you have it! You can find the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast on iTunes, Zune and the RSS feed. And don’t forget the free HowStuffWorks App!

Skull still intact? Follow Stuff to Blow Your Mind on Twitter and Facebook.

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