Next at Big Ideas…
Tue, 25 Nov 2014, 8:00 PM, at The Wheatsheaf, London
Are you normal? Does the idea that you might be sound reassuring or disappointing? To celebrate the merely average seems to diminish our capacity for the extraordinary. What kind of aspiration is that in a world that demands we exceed expectations and give at least 110%? Yet the word “normal” may bring much comfort when we hear it from our doctor, our child’s teacher or even our plumber. In news headlines it’s usually a good thing when a situation “returns to normal”. But what does this word mean, exactly?
From its beginnings in ancient Greek carpentry through cosmology, Napoleon Bonaparte and the physiognomists to modern financial mathematics, we trace the peculiar history of normality. Is this idea still fit for all the purposes it seems to serve in the contemporary world? If not what, if anything, should replace it?
Rich Cochrane writes about and teaches maths and the history of ideas at City Lit and helps run the Fine Art Maths Centre at Central Saint Martins.
Tue, 27 Jan 2015, 8:00 PM, at The Wheatsheaf, London
Is maths underpinned by rock-solid logic? If not, what are we to make of it?