For centuries, mathematical theories have proven uncannily accurate at describing—and even predicting—the physical world. Scientist Mario Livio will explore what gives mathematics such “powers.”
Livio will present “Is God A Mathematician?” at 4 p.m. Feb. 11 in Van Peursem Auditorium in the College of Science at Rochester Institute of Technology. The talk—free and open to the public—is based on his book of the same name. A book signing will follow the event.
Livio is a senior astrophysicist and former head of the science division at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which operates the Hubble Space Telescope, and the author of two previous books, The Accelerating Universe and The Golden Ratio.
His talk will cover mathematics, cosmology, physics and the cognitive sciences, and will attempt to offer an accessible account of the lives and thoughts of some of the greatest mathematicians and scientists in history, from Archimedes to Galileo and Descartes, and from Newton to Hilbert and Gödel, on up to the present day. Livio will also explore whether mathematics was invented or discovered.
Livio has conducted fundamental work on the accretion of mass onto black holes, neutron stars and white dwarfs, as well as on the formation of black holes and the possibility to extract energy from them. During the past five years he has focused on supernova explosions and their use in cosmology to determine the rate of expansion of the universe, and the nature of the dark energy that causes the cosmic expansion to accelerate.