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Dangerous Knowledge Documentary

  1. Feb 14, 2009 #1
    Hello everyone. I recently found this documentary which some of you may find interesting.

    In this one-off documentary, David Malone looks at four brilliant mathematicians - Georg Cantor, Ludwig Boltzmann, Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing - whose genius has profoundly affected us, but which tragically drove them insane and eventually led to them all committing suicide. The film begins with Georg Cantor, the great mathematician whose work proved to be the foundation for much of the 20th-century mathematics. He believed he was God's messenger and was eventually driven insane trying to prove his theories of infinity


    The description the poster gave for the video is kind of bad (they didn't even all commit suicide). Regardless, it's a great documentary.

    Part 1 http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8492625684649921614&ei=2uqWScDFOY3I-gGOrMGNBA&q=Dangerous+Knowledge&hl=en" [Broken]

    Part 2 http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1663091361786740235&ei=neuWSaCYMYuQ-wGX4-2CBA&q=Dangerous+Knowledge+2+of+2&hl=en" [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 16, 2009 #2
    Yeah, I viewed it on youtube and found it very informative and interesting!
     
  4. Feb 16, 2009 #3
    I've seen this, and would also recommend it.
     
  5. Feb 16, 2009 #4

    quasar987

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    Thanks for posting, it was nice.
     
  6. Feb 22, 2009 #5
    thanks
     
  7. Feb 22, 2009 #6

    arildno

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    Alan Turing did NOT commit suicide because his mathematical revelations drove him into insanity. Rather, he commited suicide because he couldn't bear the persecution and humiliation he was subjected to because he had been "indiscreet" as a homosexual.

    The Wikipedia article on Turing's last years follows quite closely the tale told by his biographer, Andrew Hodges:
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2009
  8. Feb 22, 2009 #7
    Boltzmann was a mathematician??? How???
     
  9. Feb 22, 2009 #8

    arildno

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    Hmm..how was he not?
     
  10. Feb 22, 2009 #9
    Hm, here I was always thinking that he was a physicist.
     
  11. Feb 22, 2009 #10

    arildno

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    And?
    He was primarily a theoretical physicist, his main work consisting of the development and studying of mathematical equations.

    Thus, at the very least, he should be regarded as a master of applied mathematics.
     
  12. Feb 22, 2009 #11
    True. But to me the idea that someone can be both a mathematician and a physicist confuses me. I personally would call very few people that.

    It's probably my condescending attitude towards all the applied mathematics. :shy:
     
  13. Feb 22, 2009 #12

    arildno

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    Hmm, isn't issues like:
    1. Proving boundedness of solutions maths?
    2. Developing approximative schemes, and proving their convergence properties maths?

    to mention just a couple of points ubiquitous in the practices of applied mathematicians..
     
  14. Feb 22, 2009 #13
    But wouldn't that make a lot of physicists mathematicians? I apologize for my very narrow view of mathematics, but I know people don't call Atiyah a physicist.
     
  15. Feb 22, 2009 #14

    arildno

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    Certainly.
    No, because in much of his work, while hugely significant for physics, that significance was only incidental to the general mathematical contributions he made.

    Maths is a much wider field than physics, the whole of physics is strictly contained within it.

    Thus, you can easily have mathematicians who provide ground-breaking results for physicists, while still being properly classified as mathematicians, rather than physicists, but you cannot have physicists producing ground-breaking results within maths without them being adept mathematicians as well.
    :smile:
     
  16. Feb 22, 2009 #15
    I agree with you there. It also relieves fear for us physics-loving mathematicians in the closet not wanting to be classified physicists. Thankfully, we will still be mathematicians! :approve:

    [EDIT: but to add, someone like Arnold would say mathematics is part of physics. Not that I agree with that.]
     
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