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- Thread starter daniel_i_l
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Well, that is kind of the point of science. Remember http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,209757,00.html?

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- #3

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Could physics be said to be the main driving force to new mathematical developments?

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Since mathematics can be said to be a tool for problem solving in physics and science in general

I doubt you will find any mathematician who agrees with this statement!

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Prob and stats has kinda been 'invented' (or developed a lot) over the last century and a bit.

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I would think that when there are still many unsolved problems, and undoubtedly many others yet to be discovered, that there are plenty of places that allow for significant progress in mathematics.

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maths may advance in depth rather than in extension

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Well... there are some recent cases of physicists certainly significantly augmenting certain topics of mathematics, if not quite inventing whole new "paradigms."

I'm thinking of Penrose's twistor theory, which began in the late 60's, as an attempt to start unifying QT and GR, but was soon grabbed hold by many geometers as a way to help understand 4-dimensional manifolds.

Similarly, I believe that Witten both helped develop the Seiberg-Witten equations (another method to grapple with 4-manifolds) and accidentally reinvented K-Theory for purely physics-related reasons.

Plus, spin networks from quantum theory have helped guide the progress of some areas of discrete geometry. And string theory has certainly put certain very abstruse mathematical ideas back on the collective map.

Granted, though, most of the above work seems to originate from the mathematical physics end of things *and* none of them have as yet had the same paradigmatic impact that Newton's and Leibniz's calculi had.

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Well, that's not really my call, since I am a mathematician. If you don't want them in your camp, we'll take 'em.

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And what makes you think I'm not a mathematician (follow the link in my signature to my homepage)?

- #17

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I would say the are physicists, and they say it themselves. It is because, in their view, the use their "tool" of mathematics for the sole purpose of explaining physical phenomenon. In their view, if they advance their tools they can advance their work. A pure mathematician does it purely for the beauty of the mathematics. If it has an application, good for the physicists, but the pure mathematician won't give a damn.

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