Thursday, May 9, 2013

Everyone Hated Computers (at some point)

From the New York Review of Book's review of mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot's memoir:
Complex dynamics had flourished in Parisian mathematical circles in the early twentieth century, but it soon led to geometrical forms that were far too complicated to be visualized, and the subject became frozen in time.
 Mandelbrot saw a way to unfreeze it—through the power of the computer. At the time, computers were pretty well disdained by mathematicians, who “shuddered at the very thought that a machine might defile the pristine ‘purity’ of their field.”
So, when one of your relatives tells you they don't understand or like these newfangled computers just keep in mind that even the most brilliant mathematicians in the world felt the same way at one time. And if they could come around, certainly your uncle can too.

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