Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe, by George Dyson
This year marks the centenary of British mathematician Alan Turing, whose researches in the unlikely and very abstruse field of mathematical logic did much to create the world in which we now live. In 1936 Turing published a paper titled "On Computable Numbers" in the Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society. The paper received almost... Read More
A load off my mind.
You are going to have to cut me a little slack today. I am somewhat light-headed, and finding it difficult to fix my mind on anything. I watched a lot of TV over the weekend — but don't ask me what, I can't remember a thing. I have been sleeping in 12-hour stretches, with naps... Read More
I am sorry. Really, really sorry. I apologize. I apologize to readers who e-mailed me last week and got bounced because my e-mailbox was full. I apologize to NRO for being disgracefully late with this column. I apologize for not having participated in The Corner for several days. Most of all, I apologize for having... Read More
A weekend away from home.
Any time I use a column to bang on about civilization (according to me) or high culture — opera, ballet, and the like — I get loyal readers e-mailing in with: "Hey, Derb, cut out this stuff, will you? Give us that old-time religion — another piece about killing rats, or a good rant against... Read More
The teaching of mathematics.
Here is a math teacher's joke from around 1975, when the original "new math" movement was in full flood. New math is now a very old story, the opening campaign in a long drawn-out war between theory and reality, in which the advantage tipped sometimes this way, sometimes that. In April this year the National... Read More
The Man Who Loved Only Numbers, by Paul Hoffman
My Brain Is Open, by Bruce...
In an essay entitled The Maniac, G.K. Chesterton argued that madness is not so much a deficiency of reason as an excess of it. "Imagination does not breed insanity. Exactly what does breed insanity is reason. Poets do not go mad; but chess players do. Mathematicians go mad … but creative artists very seldom." Like... Read More