Archive for interview

La déraisonnable efficacité des mathématiques

Posted in Books, pictures, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2017 by xi'an

Although it went completely out of my mind, thanks to a rather heavy travel schedule, I gave last week a short interview about the notion of mathematical models, which got broadcast this week on France Culture, one of the French public radio channels. Within the daily La Méthode Scientifique show, which is a one-hour emission on scientific issues, always a [rare] pleasure to listen to. (Including the day they invited Claire Voisin.) The theme of the show that day was about the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics, with the [classical] questioning of whether it is an efficient tool towards solving scientific (and inference?) problems because the mathematical objects pre-existed their use or we are (pre-)conditioned to use mathematics to solve problems. I somewhat sounded like a dog in a game of skittles, but it was interesting to listen to the philosopher discussing my relativistic perspective [provided you understand French!]. And I appreciated very much the way Céline Loozen the journalist who interviewed me sorted the chaff from the wheat in the original interview to make me sound mostly coherent! (A coincidence: Jean-Michel Marin got interviewed this morning on France Inter, the major public radio, about the Grothendieck papers.)

I am going to take the train next week! [prediction]

Posted in pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , on December 6, 2015 by xi'an

“…n’importe quelle personne appréciant le film Rashomon d’Akira Kurosawa, allant au travail en vélo et aimant le couscous va prendre le train la semaine prochaine”

In the Sciences & Médecine booklet of Le Monde this week, I found an interview of Michael Jordan on big data, under the title [I translated as] “We can always twist data the way we want”. (En français, bien sûr!) The content of the interview is great, not only because it comes after a series of poor quality articles on the “big data” revolution, but also because it sets statistics and induction at the centre of the analysis. I also liked the reference to Voltaire and transversal competences as fundamental. (Presumably this interview was done when Michael took part in a “big data” conference last month.) But what I appreciated most is the above quote that a person who likes Rashômon, bikes to work, and appreciates couscous should take a train next week! Michael intended it as a joke on the excesses of prediction, but as it happens, every single entry applies to me. Including taking a train to London at the end of next week…!

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