Colloquium: October 17th

Title: The Reasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences

Speaker: Dr. Nicolas Fillion (SFU)

Friday, Oct 17th at 2:30pm in CLE A203

Abstract: This talk will discuss a neglected aspect of the very old problem of the applicability of mathematics to the world. The approach I will discuss seeks to delineate the epistemological circumstances in which we can mathematically acquire accurate empirical knowledge from assumptions involving uncertainty, error, and approximation. It contributes to an explication of the relation between modelling and computational error and the accuracy of mathematical representations by providing a concrete yet general account of the logic of mathematical modelling. Of course, all this will be done more by providing suggestive examples than by overwhelming the poor audience with lengthy formulas. As I will suggest, this approach is key to demystifying the "unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics" described by Wigner and others.