La Recherche on current mathematics

“Perrette asked why statistics did not have a category, and Mr Ruche said  he had decided that, as statistics dealt with specifics, it was too empirical to be a section of maths.” Denis Guedj, The Parrot’s Theorem

In November, La Recherche (also) published a special issue on the power of mathematics. While this issue contains a load of interesting papers on the various facets of current mathematics, some of which being edited reprints of earlier papers, and includes a good interview of Wendelin Werner, I find it quite significant that none of those papers ever mentions statistics! It sounds as if statistics was not part of mathematics for the editors of this issue, especially when considering the section on the applications of mathematics that includes character recognition and computer intensive methods. I understand that Gödel’s theorem and the theory of proofs may be more appealing to the layman than machine learning or bootstrap, but I still resent this exclusion from the mathematical “pantheon”! (Ironically, or not!, one of the few statistics books included in the bibliography is Py’s “Statistiques sans formules mathematiques“!) This reminds me of the exclusion of statistics from the field of mathematics by the writer/journalist Denis Guedj in his otherwise captivating The Parrot’s Theorem!

9 Responses to “La Recherche on current mathematics”

  1. […] was the [slightly off]  title of the math column in the November issue of La Recherche, intriguing enough for me to grab the general public science […]

  2. […] de mathématiciens” by Philippe Pajot, who is a journalist in the vulgarisation journal La Recherche. The book is in fact a series of interviews of twelve French mathematicians with the same canvas: […]

  3. […] Having purchased the September edition of La Recherche because of its (disappointing!) coverage on black matter, I came by a short coverage on an Intel […]

  4. Xian, trolling ? :)

  5. They’re right–statistics is not part of mathematics! I’d put statistics in the “engineering” category.

    • I do not claim statistics should or should not be part of mathematics. I agree it has an engineering component that subsumes mathematics and computer sciences. But, remember, this is France! Where there is not a single statistics university department, only subdivisions of math departments…

  6. Arrêtes, tu te fais du mal.

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