The Code to the Cosmos

Sun 2 October
12:00pm BST
Venue: International
Event [83]

Debates and talks

The Code to the Cosmos

Arif Ahmed, Marika Taylor, Peter Woit. David Malone hosts.

'Number is the key to the universe' claimed Pythagoras. His vision has echoed through the centuries. For what we now call 'maths' has driven science. From Einstein to quantum mechanics maths is thought by many to uncover the truth and the very nature of reality. But might this idea be mistaken? There are limitless possible mathematical systems, and as Penrose argues 'maths is full of things that have almost nothing to do with the physical world'.

Would we be better to give up seeing maths as a description of the universe, and instead see it merely as a useful tool? Should we stop trying to give descriptive names, from strings to dimensions, to mathematical formulae and abandon the idea that an ideal mathematical theory could solve the deep puzzles of contemporary physics? Or was Pythagoras right and maths is not only the key to universe but the ultimate stuff of the world?


Cambridge philosopher Arif Ahmed, theoretical physicist Peter Woit, award-winning string theorist Marika Taylor and Kantian philosopher Nolan Gertz search for the code to the cosmos.

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