Friday, October 10, 2008

First Galois Group lecture of the year

Please see below for more information. (I have sufficiently calmed down after my "rants" in my other post today!)

"Dear all,

A quick recall for those who might have forgot: The Galois Group is an undergraduate Mathematics society at The University of Manchester who organise general audience lectures throughout the year, given by lecturers and students. It's aim is to generate some mathematical culture amongst members of the department and indeed, the mathematical community.

This year Professor Nige Ray has kindly volunteered to be our first speaker, and I would encourage you all to come along to what promises to be an exciting lecture. (Bring your friends as well!) Please find more information about Professor Nige Ray's lecture below.

Wednesday 15th October 2008 at 1:10-2pm
Alan Turing Building, room G.107

Professor Nige Ray - Categorification

Thousands of years ago, when people were learning to count their sheep (amongst other things!) the process of decategorification was seen as a stroke of genius, that allowed the development of number. During the last 30 years, it has dawned on mathematicians and theoretical physicists that the time has come to reverse this process, and work through ideas that had never been properly developed beforehand, but which are just as fundamental to mathematics as counting. In its own language, categorification involves replacing sets with categories, functions with functors, and equations with natural isomorphisms. I shall try to make some sense of this for a general mathematical audience.

The lectures are open to everyone and registration is not required. Please do come along, for apart from an interesting lecture you will also have some free refreshments to take care of afterwards!

For further information or any queries please feel free to contact Dr. M.D Coleman or myself.

I hope to see you all there!

PS: Photographs may be taken."


Anonymous said...

The professor is wrong when he says we "developed" counting. (Mental) Counting is something that we evolved, and predates humans, actually. We evolved an instinctive ability to count in order to make sense of the world. Being able to make sense of the world helped us (our-prehuman ancestors) survive.

Category theory is essentially the setting of certain mathematical statements in a convenient lingo that can greatly simplify discourse. It is convenient, and one should not scoff at that. But it is not "essential" or "fundamental", even in algebraic geometry or algebraic topology.

Beans said...

Hi anonymous, I'll forward your comment to the lecturer and see what he has to say. (Though I wouldn't be too hopeful of a response, for he lectures first years during this semester and is quite a busy man!) It would be even better if you could make it to the lecture this coming Wednesday... [Well it can't hurt a bean for trying!]

That being said, I hope to reply to your comment myself soon; well when my brain is working!