In the 1940s and 1950s, a group of brilliant engineers led by John von Neumann gathered in Princeton, New Jersey with the joint goal of realizing Alan Turing’s theoretical universal machine-a thought experiment that scientists use to understand the limits of mechanical computation. As a result of their fervent work, the crucial advancements that dominated 20th century technology emerged. In Turing’s Cathedral, technology historian George Dyson recreates the scenes of focused experimentation, mathematical insight, and creative genius that broke the distinction between numbers that mean things and numbers that do things-giving us computers, digital television, modern genetics, and models of stellar evolution. Also a philosopher of science, Dyson’s previous books include Baidarka, Darwin Among the Machines, and Project Orion. (recorded 3/13/2012)
Tagged with “math” (3)
- How math can turn you into a fortune teller.
- What is a “precise falafel”?
- Is an infinite number of Nick’s a good or a bad thing? I say good!
- $7 bucks is a lot of money. Just sayin’
- Expected value of using your Quantum Superpowers to play the lottery.
- The primate brain’s pattern recognition is both kick-ass, and dumb as hell.
- Nick: “Get out while you can, monkey!”
- The reason Las Vegas is not a Not for Profit city.
- Chess or Poker, that is the question.
- Natufian tribes, genes, and humpin’.
Leonard Mlodinow, of the California Institute of Technology is the author of The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives. His lecture on the subject of randomness was presented by the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario on May 6th, 2009.