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Science Lives profile of Robert MacPherson

Just quickly, here’s something I saw on MetaFilter and enjoyed. The Simons Foundation has a “Science Lives” series of “extended interviews with some of the giants of twentieth century mathematics and science”.

This one is with Robert MacPherson, who invented instersection homology with Mark Goresky. I’d never heard of him and topology gives me the heebie-jeebs, but I’ve spent a very happy morning reading the fascinating biography and listening to the interview. The interviewer is Robert L. Bryant, also a research mathematician, so the questions don’t stray away from difficult topics. MacPherson comes across as an all-round excellent guy; I really recommend playing through all the clips when you have some time.

“Collective dynamics of ‘small-world’ networks” – 10 years on

ScienceWatch has published an interview with Duncan Watts and Steve Strogatz on the decennial of the publication of their paper “Collective dynamics of ‘small-world’ networks”, which contained some counter-intuitive results about the spread of disease and sparked the development of network theory.

The interview covers what they did, what it means and what they hope will happen in the future. It’s quite interesting.

Interview: Duncan Watts & Steve Strogatz on ScienceWatch

Paper: Collective dynamics of ‘small-world’ networks (£22 to the unwashed)

John Conway profile

An interview/profile of John Conway has been published at The Daily Princetonian. Conway talks about his life and his methods.

“We’re remarkably free here,” Conway said of his position at Princeton. “Nobody tells me off for playing games. In fact, I’ve made playing games be serious.”

Source: Math and games.

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