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Stefan Buijsman: Calculating Humanity
Monday 11 May 2020, 20:00 - 22:00
Why did we start doing math? And actually, how does mathematics – abstract as it is – even work? How does it influence our everyday life? During this Monday’s lecture, we will see how mathematics has evolved primarily because it is useful – to societies thousands of years ago where it first emerged and to us today. It simplifies matters tremendously, not just for trade and accounting (for which e.g. the Incas used ropes shaped a bit like necklaces), but also Whatsapp security, weather forecasting and helping scientists and politicians around the world deal with the current corona crisis. Yet as useful as it is, mathematics does not always work exactly the way we want it to. It can mislead, and result in discrimination. Those ethical issues will be touched on briefly, focussing on why mathematics presents us with these dilemmas.
Stefan Buijsman is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Future Studies in Sweden. His research focuses on the interactions between philosophy and cognitive science, how people learn and use mathematics for the philosophy of mathematics. After completing his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Leiden University, he became the youngest recipient of a PhD in Sweden ever. Stefan Buijsman is the author of Plussen en minnen (2018), a popular science book about the history and everyday implications of mathematics. Together with Govrien Oldenburger he has also written a Dutch children’s book (Het Rekenrijk).
This event is open and free for everyone. If you would like to attend the symposium on zoom and ask questions in person, you can join this link from 19:45 onwards. The lecture will also be livestreamed on the SIB-Groningen facebook page and on youtube, where you can ask questions using the comment section. Please be aware that it will not be possible to watch the lecture back once it has ended.