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This page is a blog article in progress, written by David Tanzer. To see discussions of this article while it was being written, visit the Azimuth Forum. Please remember that blog articles need HTML, not Markdown.

guest post by David Tanzer</i>

Rick the Explainer

Hi my name is Rick, and though some people think that I am a fiction, I don’t agree with them. You can actually find me in my home town, which is close to the border between the North and South poles. But never mind that, because I’m here to talk about something else.

Some friends told me about the Azimuth project, which is a group of scientists, engineers and programmers working together to understand environmental problems. I found the Azimuth Blog, which has topics ranging from the cycles of the ice ages, to the geometry of information, to some kind of mathematical “Pachinko machine” they call a Petri net. On their forum, they discuss things such as complex networks, and a new, more ecologically friendly brand of mathematics.

This is great, I said, it could be the start of some entirely new highways of thinking! Let’s just roll up our sleeves, sharpen the pencils, brew the coffee and start digging into it! The music played: Roll on, roll on.

But when I took a closer look towards Mount Azimuth, I saw some steep hills to climb! Even the trail signs had math symbols. A professor named John Baez was giving a vibrant talk about math categories, networks of connections, and troubles in the environment. I wanted to get it, but the words were foggy. As far as I could tell, his main point was that ideas from quantum micro-bits can help us to understand ecology problems such as how frogs and rabbits get along in a community forum. That sounded like a far fetch, yet he had good credentials as a Professor of gravity and other subjects.

Despite the haze on the mountain, I could see some outlines of the group, which consists of professors, students, programmers, researchers, enthusiasts and other interested folks. They share a desire to work on science topics, such as environment and climate, that directly matter to the human race. Their main activities involve building a research wiki on the environment, experimenting with climate models in software, software (see for example —-), and publishing educational blog articles. The tone of the group is illustrated by their main page, which invites people to: write articles, contribute information, pose questions, fill in details, write software, help with research, help with writing, and more. So science is not confined to the Ivory Towers.

But Environment, Climate and Evolution are examples of “cosmopolitan sciences,” in the sense that they pertain both to nature and to society. These are exciting fields, but it is sobering that to these hear “cosmopolitan them sciences” warn are now warning of environmental disasters, disaster, on multiple fronts. This These brings warning elevate the problem ifsustainable development to the top of priority the list of challenges for modern science. This And calls this for would require a deeper science understanding of the biosphere biosphere, and our role within it.

Some of the potential impacts of this challenge for on modern mathematics are explored in the an Azimuth blog articleProspects for a Green Mathematics , by John Baez and David Tanzer. After First commenting they comment on how some of the major ways that the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions each transformed the field of mathematics, mathematics. they They go then on state that sustainable development represents the next major “application challenge” to argue humanity. that, And since that it can only be achieved on the biosphere basis is of a massive deeper network understanding of relationships, the challenge biosphere of and sustainable our development role will within urge it. on Next they observe that the biosphere is a massivenetwork of relationships. Therefore the very need for continued human survival will put ongoing “application pressure” on the theory of networks . Note Although the authors focus on the mathematics of networks, note that this theory also includes both the mathematics of networks, and the study of the behavior of empirical networks such as ecosystems. Then, It would be much better for us to learn more about biosphere science, rather than waiting to learn about it through its subsequent modes of failure. Then they use the example of a recentnetwork model of a growing plant to show that this development of network theory is already under way, and to hint a new and swirling level of mathematics, which could become a core kernel part of the thinking of a biospherically adapted society.

Now I am headed back to Azimuth Mountain to acquaint myself with the regional dialects. When I return, I I’ll invite you to tour of some of the more colorful trails. Now True, I can’t promise you that it will won’t be a completely effortless journey, but I no won’t one will be quizzing you us on every pine cone needle that we come across, and, and prudently, we shall prudently avoid the most jagged peaks. We may also pick learn up something some about knowledge of the cultures local of the village communities. cultures.

Finally, in case you have any concerns about my qualifications, I have just received my permit as an Azimuth tour guide. Note See my green and white badge, which says: Rick the Explainer.

category: blog