This book shows that physics cannot exist without mathematics (and vice versa).
It is indeed the fourth book written by the mathematical physicist Marcel Funk. He has previously written about string theory, black holes, and the book The race against the turtle On thought experiments in physics. This time he combines two disciplines: How did mathematics evolve physics, and vice versa?
Is the universe straight or curved? How many dimensions are there in the universe? Just a few questions from the back cover of the book. The answers to this come from mathematics: It’s the language of nature, says Funk. Just think of the simple count of ten or more: indispensable in physics. Engineering is also essential to understanding black holes. His latest book is about this interaction From number to universe.
So the book is about how mathematics and physics work together. Quite an abstract topic.
“Yes, that’s right, but abstraction doesn’t mean it’s any less interesting, I guess.”
Why did you want to write about the topic?
My field really borders on mathematics and physics. And for about thirty years, mathematics has ceased to be just a tool for understanding nature. Physics also helps to have an intuition for new mathematics. This is really a recent thing, which came into the picture a lot more with the advent of string theory. A story I’ve wanted to tell for a long time.
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