Here is an apology – with apologies to the Unapologetic Mathematician

One inspiration for starting this blog is the fact that Dr. Baez has a great abundance of stuff on the Web. Some of the better-known include the ever-popular This Week’s Finds in Mathematical Physics, and the newer n-Category Café, which is a group venture together with Urs Schreiber and David Corfield. Between the three of them, they write on “math, physics, and philosophy”. That’s more or less what I propose to do here.

Why the redundancy?

The n-Category Café has turned out to be a very productive way of sharing ideas informally over long distances, and without being too confined by a narrow topic or the strictures of publishability. The participants have also adopted the ethic that it’s better to share ideas than keep them secret until they’re perfected. One essential reason is that science, math, and philosophy are cultural products – discussion is like oxygen for culture. This is a lesson that has been learned many times in the past, and, I suspect, will have to be learned many times again in the future. Publication, peer review, giving public talks – the whole essence of research is communicating ideas. Of course, you need to develop good ideas to communicate, but the point is to share and discuss them. One more voice in a conversation like that may be a drop in a bucket, but it’s not redundant.

So I aim for this to be my particular drop in our great collective bucket. I’ll relate things that I’ve been thinking about; explain things I’ve figured out; express confusion over things I haven’t; describe the experience of starting a research career; muse; investigate; and, if possible, not bloviate. And I won’t worry too much about being incomplete, tentative, or even (a little bit) wrong. That’s all part of investigating things.

This is as much “apology” (in the sense of a justification of one’s actions – quite the opposite of what we moderns usually mean by “apologize”) as I suppose the minor nuisance of starting yet another blog really requires.

Advertisements