Words change their meanings. Once “biometrics” referred to the use of statistics in studying biological systems such as agriculture (as opposed to, say, “technometrics”): now only one item on the Google top ten refers to the International Biometric Society, so completely has a different meaning taken over. 913 more words

## Tags » Mathematics And ...

#### Knitting

I can’t resist passing on this, from last week’s *Big Issue*.

Actress Elaine Cassidy likes knitting. She says,

I love maths, and knitting is just maths, really. 21 more words

#### Mathematics, poetry and beauty

Comparing mathematics with poetry is an infinitely rich game. For every opinion you express, there is an equally valid counter-opinion. Contrasted to Hilbert’s dismissal of a student who had left mathematics for poetry, “I always thought he didn’t have enough imagination for mathematics”, someone said to me recently that the early death of Schubert was a greater tragedy than that of Galois, since what Galois could have achieved would sooner or later be done by someone else, whereas Schubert’s potential was lost forever. 728 more words

#### Ramon Llull

Last Saturday the *Guardian* had a review of *The Serpent Papers* by Jessica Cornwell (granddaughter of John Le Carré). Set in Barcelona and Mallorca, the book is a murder mystery and more; its presiding genius is Ramon Llull, the mediaeval Mallorcan who was described by Donald Knuth as “an energetic and quixotic Catalan poet, novelist, encyclopedist, educator, mystic and missionary” (in his article “Two thousand years of combinatorics” in… 522 more words

#### OuLiPo

OuLiPo, or Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle (which they translate as “Charity bazaar of potential literature”) were a collection of writers I knew little about until yesterday. 799 more words

#### Mathematical metaphor

Last week, the book *Fashionable Nonsense* by Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont emerged from its hiding place under the sofa. So I browsed a couple of chapters. 667 more words

#### Open access and metrics: the Ball committee report

I mentioned this report in an earlier post; I am grateful to John Ball for directing me to the report on the web ( 430 more words