Monthly Archives: April 2012

Quotation for the week: Karlin

A short one this week, from the mathematician and mathematical biologist Samuel Karlin: The purpose of models is not to fit the data but to sharpen the questions. (11th R A Fisher Memorial Lecture, 20 April 1983.) A¬†beautifully concise summary … Continue reading

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Garbage in, garbage out?

Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Can’t Predict The Future, by¬†O. H. Pilkey & L. Pilkey-Jarvis. Columbia University Press, 2007. Mathematical models — equations and systems of equations used to predict the behaviour of entities in the real world — seem … Continue reading

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Quotation for the week: Twain

The ever-quotable Mark Twain this week, having fun at the expense of linear extrapolation — but with a more general sting in the tail. The Mississippi between Cairo and New Orleans was twelve hundred and fifteen miles long one hundred … Continue reading

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Quotation for the week: Halmos

Paul Halmos’s “automathography”, I Want to be a Mathematician, contains plenty of good advice for those in the early stages of a mathematical career — even though the career path it describes has changed since Halmos’s day. Here’s his advice … Continue reading

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