Archive for May, 2012

Calculus for social scientists

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

Europeans made calculus difficult because they did not understand it. The infinite series of the Indian calculus did not fit their religious idea of mathematics as eternal truth, hence perfect.  (Newton made a mistake in his physics just because he did not understand the calculus, and that physics has only recently been corrected.) Throwing out those politically warped religious ideas from mathematics makes math easy.

To demonstrate this, I conducted a five-day workshop on “Calculus for social scientists” at Ambedkar University Delhi. Here is the poster of the workshop, followed by an informal group photo (under a tree) and a more formal one with the Vice Chancellor.

AUD workshop poster

AUD group photo 1

AUD group photo 1

What was most rewarding was that after the workshop the students understood they were not inferior just because they did not get good marks in school maths. The sweet card they gave me, said it all.  

Unmugged in Rio

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

Was all prepared to by mugged in Rio. So much so that it was almost disappointing not to be!

unmugged in rio

In the background is the “mistical” Christ (Corcovado), who remained mistical with his back turned to the world, even when I went to see from close by!

Mistical Christ

Retarded gravity

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

Presented this talk at a school at Petropolis, Brazil. Lorentz covariance requires that gravity be velocity dependent. But old physicists can’t get over the 19th c. idea, reiterated by Eddington, that introducing velocity dependence in gravity makes the two-body problem unstable! They never studied functional differential equations, and no physics texts yet mentions my first solution of functional differential equations in a serious physical context. Old-time physicists confuse the mathematical theory of ordinary differential equations with physics. But young people do better.


National year of mathematics and delayed monsoon

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

But why a year on the Christian calendar? That calendar embodies the European ignorance of elementary arithmetic and simple fractions (hence their persistent inability to determine Easter correctly until the Gregorian calendar reform of 1582 when they got the length of the year from Indian books). Click the image for the text version. This newspaper has a circulation of 40 million.

Even so, the Gregorian calendar retains the unscientifc chaos about months. This is a disaster for Indian agriculture. (More details of the monsoon mess in my book Cultural Foundations of Mathematics, or an early preliminary article at

More recent newspaper clips on the “delayed monsoon” effect are at



Open source software: a charter of demands

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

Strange that governments do not support the use of open source, when it has so many advnatages.  Some news reports below on the press conference by the Consumer Association Penang on 13 April, and a full charter of demands.


More press reports. (more…)

Islam and the Philosophy of Science

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

The Pusat Islam organized a talk on Islam and the philosophy of science. (Click the image for the paper. But the paper does not cover the queston of ethics of science, taken up during the talk.)

New curriculum for history and philosophy of science

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

A workshop was held at Al-Bukhari International University to formulate a new curriculum for the history and philosophy of science. Scholars from 3 countries participated. Here is the announcement for the workshop, and an earlier one on the Multiversity site.

The issue is part of the decolonisation agenda, but was precipitated when a person who trained as a missionary in Singapore Bible College, and never acquired any knowledge of science or philosophy, but got a PhD from Cambridge in the philosophy of science, started trying to use the classroom as a pulpit. See the minutes of the discussion, and the draft syllabus.

Here is a group photo

and a press report in Alef (Iran). (Click image to go to site, and use Google translate for hilarious results.)

Reimagining science teaching

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

To teach science one needs to know the right stories of how science developed. That is one needs a truthful history of science, not the trash history one gets from the West. Strange that all those who talk of teaching students to innovate  can only blindly imitate the syllabus from Western universities!