Copenhagen by Michael Frayn – Minerva Theatre, Chichester 31st August 2018

Why did I choose to go to Chichester to see this play?  I don’t know, and neither does anybody else.  The facts are clear enough.  I had seen it was coming, and thought it would be interesting.  But I didn’t book tickets until the last minute.  I didn’t realise how popular it would be. How could I?  So by the time I came to book nearly every seat was taken and I had very little choice of which seat to take – and there were no nights where two seats were left next to each other.   Is that why I went alone?   Or did my wife’s reluctance to go and see a play  about a couple of physicists with a total cast of 3 and no prospect of any singing or dancing have something to do with it.  Did that hold me back from getting my credit card out.  Did I only commit when I had a valid excuse for why I was going alone?   I literally don’t know the answers to these questions, even though it all happened in my head in the last month.  Our brains and how they work are a mystery to ourselves. Michael Frayn could probably get a play out of this. Continue reading

The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences by Eugene Wigner

The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics

The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences is one of those pieces of writing whose title really sums up the whole thing – basically it does what it says on the tin.  It started life as a lecture and was subsequently published in the mathematical literature in 1960.  It is about something that a lot of people have noticed.  It is really quite surprising how often a mathematical idea developed for a particular purpose, or for no other purpose than simple pleasure in the exercise of the mind, turns out to be a useful tool later for something completely different. Continue reading