Thursday, 18 October 2012

Two things: Mars and Mathematics

An interlude to my hiatus of posting...trying to write a paper based on the earlier DNT article...

There are couple very nice things I want to post here, mainly for future reference and because, well just because :-)

The first is a panorama of Mars taken by Curiosity found via the Bad Astronomy blog (regular and compulsory reading): what would it look like if you could stand (where Curiosity is) on Mars...

As explained by Phil Plait, these pictures were stitched together by Denny Bauer from a series of pictures from Curiosity's MastCam - amazing work-

This I rate in the same category as the Titan surface picture taken by Huygens, and talking of Huygens I found (via BadAstronomy) a link to a posting about the surface of Titan being somewhat like wet sand which then led to an article about Huygen's landing and then to an ESA page which details the landing with a video reconstruction. I know that Curiosity's landing was pretty spectacular and we have videos, but Huygens did it much, much further from home after a longer journey onto a moon that was a complete mystery - isn't science amazing!

Then there is a posting on n-Category Cafe about set theory and order theory and the dependence of one on the other: The Curious Dependence of Set Theory on Order Theory (Tom Leinster). The posting the question:

Is it strange that results about sets should depend on results about order?

and offers two answers: yes and no ....

Rather than go into the mathematics, the discussion of the point is fascinating from two angles: firstly, that isn't it amazing how results in one area of mathematics appear to be inextricably linked with results in seemingly unrelated areas. I guess elliptic curves and modular forms via the Taniyama-Shimura conjecture is a good example. Secondly the discussions open up quite a debate on the philosophy of mathematics and ends up discussing computer programming, data structures and the Axiom of Choice.

Then there's Einstein's letter on religion which is being auctioned on eBay in which he detailed his views and more importantly his understanding of religion; this is a quote from a 1930's essay by Einstein:
"To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is something that our minds cannot grasp, whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly: this is religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I am a devoutly religious man."
Quite profound and I'll finish with an xkcd cartoon:


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