Thursday, August 20, 2015

Turing liked the way math is independent of human affairs

[In the mathematics degree course at Cambridge, Turing was] one of those who could feel themselves entering another country, in which social rank, money, and politics were insignificant, and in which the greatest figures, Gauss and Newton, had both been born farm boys.
Andrew Hodges, Alan Turing: The Enigma, Centenary Ed. (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 2012), p. 60
Alan responded with joy to the absolute quality of mathematics, its apparent independence of human affairs, which G.H. Hardy expressed another way: 317 is a prime, not because we think so, or because our minds are shaped in one way rather than another, but because it is so, because mathematical reality is built that way.
Id. (citing G.H. Hardy, A Mathematician's Apology (Cambridge University Press, 1940))

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