One of the great ironies of science is that, in the search of truth, we spend all of our efforts trying to prove ourselves wrong. We design a model, assume it’s true, and test it against the data. When the data doesn’t fit, we toss it. And to be considered serious scientists, we need to try our hardest to prove ourselves wrong.
But what qualifies as “wrong?” Just how inconsistent does our data need to be before we toss the model? Part of the answer to this question comes from statistics, and a number called the P-value.
This week we look back on yet another record set for quantum entanglement. Meanwhile, astronomers spot a spiral galaxy in images of the early universe, the very first of its kind. And could a Japanese mathematician have proven a relationship between prime numbers?
I like to think this is a good introduction or refresher for anybody who needs to know what derivatives are…
For the uninitiated, math is the boring exercise of manipulating numbers, a practice that most people would consider outdated ever since the invention of the calculator.
To Alex Bellos, author of Here’s Looking at Euclid, math is a fascinating subject that can be used to evaluate almost any problem that can be solved using a series of rigid rules.
It is a system that we can use in order to discover why the real world defies common sense, and even to explore realms outside the universe as we know it.
Here’s what he has to say about it.