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Gregory Chaitin (of Chaitin’s number fame) muses on what makes the great mathematicians stand out


He thinks it’s something of the supernatural:

Chaitin discusses the almost supernatural awareness some mathematicians have had of the foundations of our shared reality in the mathematics of the universe …

Gregory Chaitin: I also had the collected works of Niels Henrik Abel (1802–1829) in my hands, a child prodigy who did some beautiful work. But Euler works on every possible topic. And so where does all this new mathematics, where does this creativity come from? It seems to be, have a supernatural source, as if…

Robert J. Marks: In fact, that’s a topic I want to talk to you about later, whether or not maybe the creativity might be, for example, non-algorithmic, non-computable.

Gregory Chaitin: Maybe God was talking to him. Georg Cantor thought that. Because it’s really hard explain where all those new ideas came from.

News, “Gregory Chaitin on the great mathematicians, East and West” at Mind Matters News

Gregory Chaitin offers some thoughts on Georg Cantor and Srinivasa Ramanujan as well, both of whom thought that their math discoveries were divinely inspired.

About Chaitin’s own work:

Note: To get some sense of Chaitin’s work, see “Things exist that are unknowable: A tutorial on Chaitin’s number” (Robert J. Marks): “Chaitin’s number is an intellectually stunning piece of mathematics, ranking with Cantor’s model of the infinite and Shannon’s theory of information in terms of mind-bending brilliance.

“The number exists. If you write programs in C++, Python, or Matlab, your computer language has a Chaitin number. It’s a feature of your computer programming language. But we can prove that even though Chaitin’s number exists, we can also prove it is unknowable.

“The mathematically provable idea that something exists but is unknowable has clear philosophical and theological implications.”

News, “Gregory Chaitin on the great mathematicians, East and West” at Mind Matters News

film of Ramanujan’s life debuted in 2014 and aired at the Toronto Film Festival in 2015:

You may also wish to read: Five surprising facts about famous scientists we bet you never knew: How about juggling, riding a unicycle, and playing bongo? Or catching criminals or cracking safes? Or believing devoutly in God… (Robert J. Marks)

A computer program is not a string of 1s and 0s. A computer program is a variable sequence of actions. Analog computers and human minds also have programs, which make analog decisions on a continuum.polistra
March 6, 2021
10:10 AM

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