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[Cancelled] Stefan Buijsman: Calculating Humanity
Monday 16 March 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’s 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 and weather forecasting. 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).