[FOM] Pure mathematics and humanity's collective curiosity

Andre.Rodin@ens.fr Andre.Rodin at ens.fr
Wed Oct 17 08:38:00 EDT 2007

 Adib Ben Jebara wrote:

> My opinion is that most pure mathematics can be
> expected to be applied in the future.
> For the physical world is shaped mathematically.
> We can find in the history of mathematics examples
> where applying a theory came as a surprise.
> For instance, applying non euclidian geometry
> came as a surprise.

I don't think that this is historically correct. Lobachevsky had in mind the
possibility that physical space could be non-euclidean to begin with. The idea
that non-euclidean geometries came about through playing with axioms is plainly

Andrei Rodin

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