Mathematical Constants and Their Beautiful Relationship

Gresham Lecture

Mathematical Constants and Their Beautiful Relationship

Wednesday 25 October 2017 - 16.00
Museum of London

4.00pm Professor John D Barrow  Zero is a Hero.

4.45pm Professor Raymond Flood Just Imagine! The Tale of i.

5.30pm Break (foyer café open until 5:55pm for purchase of drinks and snacks)

6.00pm Professor Robin Wilson Pi and e, and  ‘the most beautiful theorem in mathematics’.

7.00 pm  Close

ABSTRACTS

John D Barrow  Zero is a Hero.

 A look at the origins of the zero symbol in different cultures and its place and value in the development of mathematics. Some cultures were suspicious of the notion of treating 'nothing' as if it were 'something' in case this turned out to be a logical fallacy that undermined all of their mathematics. We will also look at the concept of the empty set and its uses in defining all the natural numbers. We explore some of the connections and differences between the mathematician's zero and the concepts of 'nothing' and the 'vacuum' in philosophy, theology, physics and cosmology.