I Love Maths: The Poetry of Logical Ideas

“You don’t educate people by telling them useful things….If you teach them interesting things then they learn it and then they can use it. Lots of maths is useful, practically useful – that’s not a good way to teach it." J H Conroy (Numberphiles podcast here)

Einstein, Euclid, Galileo, Noether and many others could see mathematics all around in nature and that it empowers our civilisation's science, toys and tools. Unfortunately far too many people dislike or fear maths and far too many public policy debates lack logic and poetry. Better curricula and more great mathematics teachers and promoters are definitely needed – Woo Tube’s Eddie Woo (see Wootube link below) comes to mind, along with Hannah Fry and Matt Parker.

Tell us  who favourite maths person or what is your favourite mathematics – related podcast, place, book or youtube channel

“Mathematics, in a sense, is logic let loose in the field of the imagination.” Margaret Wertheim

“Maths is just there… You're either right or you're wrong. That’s what I like about it” Katherine Johnson, Fortunately her calculations were right - enabling US astronauts to return safely to Earth. Have a listen to her here


A couple of other inspirational and very interesting mathematicians discuss themselves and the richness of their mathematical lives in the Joy of X podcast episodes below:

Federico Ardila joyously expounds on music, people and the linkages supported by combinatorial mathematics and discusses the importance of good mathematics teaching.

Melanie Mitchell discusses some mathematical underpinnings of general intelligence as opposed to the statistics on steroids that characterizes much of what we currently hear reported as artificial intelligence (AI)

Relatedly mathematician, computer scientist and applied ethicist Rediet Abebe discusses the importance of ensuring equity and proper goals in optimizing AI algorithms.

And on a lighter note Matt Parker gives us an overview of maths use mishaps in the real world talking with Dr Karl Kruszelnicki (drkarl.com)

A Few Other Mathematically themed Podcasts

Women In Mathematics

The Numberphile podcast

Nira Chamberlain talks to Jim Al-Khalili on A Life Scientific podcast episode

Maths Is Everywhere here

Big Ideas: Cédric Villani brings us a passionate exposition of the beauty of mathematics and why it matters here

Big Ideas: Maths as the driving force behind modern science here

Princeton University’s recommended math-related podcasts here

Conversations with Fields Medal Winner Geordie Williamson here and Robyn Arianrhod here

The Philosophy of Mathematics here

Does Mathematics Matter? here

Melvyn Bragg discusses game theory here

The Golden Ratio in nature and design here

Adam Spencer discusses his world of numbers here

Alex Bellos take you on a mathematical learning journey – link to BBC podcast here


Video channels

Woo tube with Eddie Woo


Mathematics Books – A subset of the genre

In “Math Without Number” Milo Beckman strips out digits to focus on describing the beauty of mathematics. (BBC Radio 4 discussion podcast here, link to his site and book here & youtube here)


Extract From Willem De Sitter Obituary

In [de Sitter's] work we see the creative mathematician at his best. He is not a cold, dispassionate juggler of Greek letters, a balancer of equations, but rather an artist in whom wild flights of the imagination are restrained by the formalism of a symbolic language and the evidence of observation. Only the musician can fully grasp what it must have meant to de Sitter to see the cosmos shaping itself in new ways in his formulas. Like musical notes, strange symbols, standing for forces and masses that were divined rather than known, arranged themselves into a coherent message. And when the message came to be read a totally new universe was revealed. Here we have something of the direct personal experience of the outer world, of the significance of nature's wonders, that comes only to a Beethoven or a Milton. The expanding universe of de Sitter must be regarded as something more than an inexorable conclusion drawn from the strictest kind of logic with which the human mind is familiar. It is poetry of a new sort - the scientist's way of writing an epic.