Here’s a public lecture I gave yesterday, via videoconferencing, at the 55th annual meeting of the South African Mathematical Society:
Abstract: The International Mathematical Union has declared 2013 to be the year of The Mathematics of Planet Earth. The global warming crisis is part of a bigger transformation in which humanity realizes that the Earth is a finite system and that our population, energy usage, and the like cannot continue to grow exponentially. If civilization survives this transformation, it will affect mathematics—and be affected by it—just as dramatically as the agricultural revolution or industrial revolution. We cannot know for sure what the effect will be, but we can already make some guesses.
To watch the talk, click on the video above. To see slides of the talk, click here. To see the source of any piece of information in these slides, just click on it!
My host Bruce Bartlett, an expert on topological quantum field theory, was crucial in planning the event. He was the one who edited the video, and put it on YouTube. He also made this cute poster:
I was planning to fly there using my superpowers to avoid taking a plane and burning a ton of carbon. But it was early in the morning and I was feeling a bit tired, so I used Skype.
By the way: if you’re interested in science, energy and the environment, check out the Azimuth Project, which is a collaboration to create a focal point for scientists and engineers interested in saving the planet. We’ve got some interesting projects going. If you join the Azimuth Forum, you can talk to us, learn more, and help out as much or as little as you want. The only hard part about joining the Azimuth Forum is reading the instructions well enough that you choose your whole real name, with spaces between words, as your username.