Where does Mathematics come from? It is a question that has been discussed about some of the most prominent mathematical minds.
Some believe that we discover them, others invent them; some think that the part is discovered and partially fictitious, while some admit that they do not know.
The jury is very divided.
But there is something that all parties had to consider before taking sides: the ideas of Plato, one of the most important figures of Ancient Greece.
What the famous philosopher has said remains to date the basis of what many scholars think of the origin of mathematics.
Fundamental or Separate
In Ancient Greece, there is no doubt that everything has shown that mathematics is something we have discovered.
For Pythagoras and his followers, they were a window into the world of gods.
But there are still: although they are the fundamental part of the world in which we live, they are in some way oddly separated from him.
Trying to understand this obvious paradox is a crucial point a dilemma of the origin of mathematics.
And that's what Plato did.
In another kingdom
The philosopher was fascinated by geometric shapes that they could produce by the rules of mathematics, which he believed came from the deities.
In order to understand what he said, we use a flat, closed curve in which all points are equal to the distance from the center.
Better said, the volume.
It's likely that you have ever had to draw it, that you tried to look good and that it worked for you, although it's not perfect.
So, you had access to the hottest computer in the world, and the scale you draw would not be perfect.
Access is sufficient and every physical extent, as well as the determining circuit, will have impacts and imperfections.
According to Plato, this is because there are no circumferences and flawless circles in the real world; the perfect circle lives in the divine world of perfect forms, heaven sky where you can find all maths, but only if you are a true believer.
The philosopher was also convinced that everything in the cosmos could represent 5 solid objects known as the platonic solids.
So Earth was a solid cube. The fire was directed at the tetrahedron. The air was an octahedron, while the icosaider with 20 triangular sides represented water.
The last platonic solids, dodecahedron, encapsulated the entire Universe.
There is something special in platonic solids. They are the only objects in which all sides have the same shapeand there are only five.
No matter how hard you try, you will never find another subject with these unique mathematical qualities.
All these forms, Plato believed, existed in a world of perfect forms beyond our simple mortal – a place we call Plato's world.
Although these ideas seem a little crazy, there are many people who believe in them, and these people look normal.
"Plato's solid matter is for me a great example that mathematics was discovered instead of fiction"says Mc Tegmark, a professor of physics and mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
"When the ancient Greeks discovered they existed, they could invent their names." A man with 12 faces called a dodecahedron. But I was a clean Dodecahedron already there to discover, "says Tegmark.
"I have Plato's vision that there are triangles, numbers, circles around," says physicist Philip Eleanor Knock. they are part of this mathematical landscape I'm investigating. "
But not everyone believes in this Platonic world of mathematical truths.
"I think that's it Plato's world is in the human mind"says Hira Peiris, an astrophysicist," It's the product of our imagination, "he adds.
"I understand people who really believe in this other realm of reality and, in particular, if they spend their days and nights thinking and exploring that area," says Brian Grun, a professor of physics and mathematics at the University of Columbia.
"That does not mean it's real", decree.
Plato would not agree.
He encouraged us to believe in that other world in which all mathematics can be found, and that they do not cheat and I think that the world around us is all that exists.
What we perceive as reality, he warned, is nothing but a shadow.
Two thousand later …
More than 2,000 years ago, Plato assumed the geometry of the form as evidence of God's influence, ideas that were limited to the senses and imagination.
Today, Geometry is at the forefront of science.
New technologies have allowed us to look at the world beyond our senses and, once again, it seems that the natural world is actually written in the mother tongue.
This is a virus model.
You will immediately notice its geometric shape: it is one of Plato's solid substances.
Reidun Tvarock, a professor of mathematics at the University of York, her colleagues designed a computer simulation that puts mathematicians at the center of the virus.
"What we're trying to figure out is how this virus is formed and for this reason we create an illusion that we are inside the virus, in a situation where genetic material is usually found," he explains to BBC Reidun.
That's how they discovered it the virus uses the advantages of the power of mathematics to build an external wall in the fastest and most efficient way.
Armed with this knowledge, Reidun is trying to find a way to prevent the spread of viruses such as hepatitis B and even ordinary colds.
That makes such research so exciting.
Detection of mathematics that allows the virus to form its envelope can give us a way to break it. Without the outer wall, there is no virus; no virus, no infection.
Revealed or fictitious?
Beyond the range of human senses, it seems that the Universe somehow knows math.
Really It's incredible how many forms seem to appear. They are in plants, in marine life, even in viruses.
And every time we add more things we can explore and use using the mathematics we have.
All this gives the weight to the idea that there is a natural order that keeps the world around us and that we do nothing but discover math.
But maybe we were looking for patterns in the wrong places.
If everything is in the head, then the brain can be a good place to watch.
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