If G. H. Hardy is much thought about these days (and beyond fellow mathematicians, he probably isn’t), it is as much for his dazzling aphorisms as his dizzying flights in the upper reaches of number theory.

“There is no permament place in the world,” he declared, “for ugly mathematics”. This has led to Hardy being characterised as an aesthete in the Wildean mould, compounded by C. P. Snow‘s dark references to his sexuality (in the foreward to Hardy’s autobiographical A Mathematician’s Apology, Snow alludes to “intense affections” for young men, “absorbing … exalted” but – to Snow’s no doubt immense relief – “non-physical”).

But the equivocation is doubly misplaced.

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Not with a Bang but a simper

September 17, 2010

While watching with head in hands the latest edition of the BBC’s ill-advised ‘science’ pop programme Bang Goes the Theory,  I was left wondering why science is so poorly served on mainstream TV.

After all, ‘Bang’ (as one presenter coyly referred to it) is the Beeb’s most prominent science offering, discounting the otherwise excellent series such as Beautiful Minds, and Chemistry: A Volatile History which both aired on the minority BBC4. Read the rest of this entry »