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Do Aliens Know Math?


2023-09-05 |    0

The Language of Nature: In 1623, Galileo proposed that mathematics serves as the universal language of nature. This concept endures among scientists because mathematics pervades fields like physics, economics, chemistry, biology, and linguistics. Is this prevalence purely coincidental, or can we infer that mathematics is an inherent aspect of the universe, possibly known to extraterrestrial civilizations?

The Role of Mathematics in Prediction: Mathematics is crucial for prediction, a fundamental element of scientific inquiry. Predictability remains paramount across diverse fields, from discerning dinosaur extinctions to forecasting elections and deciphering neural network operations. Richard Dawkins suggests this drive for prediction may stem from genes' imperative to ensure their preservation.

Systems, Philosophy, and Abstraction: Scientific investigation often involves intricate systems governed by specific rules. Predicting individual component states within these systems requires careful reasoning. However, excessive verbosity and repetitive terminology can introduce errors reminiscent of philosophical challenges. In philosophical investigations of nature, everyday language is often employed, underscoring philosophy's goals while fostering skepticism about its methods.

The Power of Symbols and Logic: Isaac Newton aptly named his influential work on mechanics 'Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy.' Substituting symbols for repetitive language enhances the precision of philosophical discourse and reduces logical errors. This transition to symbolic representation allows for a more focused and logical exploration of phenomena. Science, in many respects, blends philosophy and mathematical modeling, demonstrating the usefulness of symbolic abstraction. This abstraction extends into pure mathematics, as exemplified by the following system of linear equations:

                     x+2y+3z+4t = 5

                   2x+3y+4z+5t = 6

                   3x+4y+5z+6t = 7

                   4x+5y+6z+7t = 8

Solving Linear Equations: It was far from obvious how to solve such systems until Carl Gauss (or some of his friends) understood that nothing would happen to the solution if we omitted symbols x, y, z, t, +, =, replacing the system with the coefficient matrix table:

         | 1 2 3 4 | 5 |
         | 2 3 4 5 | 6 |
         | 3 4 5 6 | 7 |
         | 4 5 6 7 | 8 |
 
This simplification gave us a powerful method of solving systems of linear equations known as the Gaussian elimination method.
 
Learn more about Linear Algebra and many other ways to solve systems of equations with Russian Math Tutors.

Aliens and the Universality of Mathematics: If an extraterrestrial entity in our universe sought to make predictions, it would inevitably encounter systems of objects with prescribed behaviors. In pursuit of efficient, logical reasoning, this hypothetical alien would likely embrace symbolic language, effectively employing mathematics as a tool for comprehension and prediction.

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