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Scientists vs. Mathematicians
Scientist 48%  48%  [ 10 ]
Mathematician 52%  52%  [ 11 ]
Total votes : 21

Science_Guy
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25 Aug 2010, 1:26 am

Who do you think are better?

Personally I think scientists are way smarter.



Tomasu
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25 Aug 2010, 4:00 am

^^ Greetings Science_Guy.

I believe that this is very difficult for me to classify as I believe that they are very different fields and different thinking and skills are required for the happy friends I believe. Thank you very much for posting however as I believe that this is very interesting.


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Apple_in_my_Eye
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25 Aug 2010, 4:26 am

It is a little frustrating that other fields need math, but math doesn't need them. Or any other subject, as far as I know. (D*mn snooty subject...) In physics there are some people who label themselves mathematician-physicists. And sometimes a mathematician has rescued Physics when it got stuck on a math problem (i.e. "M-Theory"). But it doesn't work the other way around.



MDM
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25 Aug 2010, 4:52 am

http://xkcd.com/435/

I'd argue mathematicians, however, our culture has a tendency to disagree. What's so great about math though, is it can be applied to virtually any science.



ruveyn
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25 Aug 2010, 6:44 am

Science_Guy wrote:
Who do you think are better?

Personally I think scientists are way smarter.


This is an ill formed question. Mathematicians do one kind of thing. Scientists (I assume you mean the physical sciences) do another kind of thing. One cannot reasonably say one is better than the other. Mathematics is necessary for doing physical science and the questions raised in physical science have lead to the development of several branches of mathematics. Newton invented calculus to deal with the physics of forces and motion. Without mathematics physics (or any hard science) would be impossible. On the other hand, science must deal with the world as it is. The validity of any scientific theory is measured by its conformity the the facts. Mathematics is an abstract discipline and the only constraint on it is consistency.

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ruveyn
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25 Aug 2010, 6:46 am

MDM wrote:
http://xkcd.com/435/

I'd argue mathematicians, however, our culture has a tendency to disagree. What's so great about math though, is it can be applied to virtually any science.


But math is less constrained. The only requirement for a mathematical theory is that it be logically consistent. A scientific theory must correctly (in the empirical sense) describe the world as it is.

Mathematics and Physics are related but quite distinct.

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Orwell
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25 Aug 2010, 7:47 am

Mathematicians can (and do) perform serious research in the natural sciences (and other fields such as economics, sociology, etc) on a regular basis. Natural scientists are not qualified to do research in mathematics.

That is, the skill set of a scientist is a proper subset of the skill set of a mathematician.


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mv
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25 Aug 2010, 7:57 am

Mathematicians are scientists. And by the way, there are several theoretical sciences that use mathematics, exclusively. Quantum physics, for example.



ruveyn
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25 Aug 2010, 8:10 am

mv wrote:
Mathematicians are scientists. And by the way, there are several theoretical sciences that use mathematics, exclusively. Quantum physics, for example.


Some applied mathematicians do science, but theoretical mathematics is not a science. That is because the criterion of validity is not that it be in line with experimental evidence. The only thing required of a pure mathematical theory is that it be internal (logically) consistent.

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visagrunt
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25 Aug 2010, 12:43 pm

Pure Mathematics is perfect, elegant and free of error terms! But unless you believe in knowledge for knowledge's sake, it continually runs the risk of irrelevance.

As a discipline, mathematics is the bedrock upon which all types of analysis are built. At its root it's the study of patterns. But this does not make it superior to other disciplines, merely more universal.


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danandlouie
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25 Aug 2010, 3:22 pm

seances? what are you talking about. shamans and tarot card readers? seances are not scientific. why, they're for morons who believe in astrolo.........oh....scientists. well, that's all together different.

never mind.



Jono
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25 Aug 2010, 3:45 pm

Pure mathematics is required for some natural sciences (most prominently physics) but not the other way round.



ruveyn
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25 Aug 2010, 6:02 pm

Orwell wrote:
Mathematicians can (and do) perform serious research in the natural sciences (and other fields such as economics, sociology, etc) on a regular basis. Natural scientists are not qualified to do research in mathematics.

That is, the skill set of a scientist is a proper subset of the skill set of a mathematician.


Not strictly. Some mathematicians do research in areas totally unconnected to physics or the hard physical sciences. Pure number theory is not that all connected to physics, for example. The resolution of the Goldbach Conjecture will probably have no bearing on physics at all.

The intuition that pure mathematicians manifest is quite distinct from that of the physicists. That is why very few mathematicians (Ed Witten is a notable exception) score well in physics. Witten invented String Theory from a mathematical motive.

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Orwell
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25 Aug 2010, 10:04 pm

ruveyn wrote:
Not strictly. Some mathematicians do research in areas totally unconnected to physics or the hard physical sciences. Pure number theory is not that all connected to physics, for example. The resolution of the Goldbach Conjecture will probably have no bearing on physics at all.

The intuition that pure mathematicians manifest is quite distinct from that of the physicists. That is why very few mathematicians (Ed Witten is a notable exception) score well in physics. Witten invented String Theory from a mathematical motive.

ruveyn

Sure, plenty of mathematicians do pure research, but some other mathematician usually comes along and applies it. Number theory has some surprising applications out there... it's hard to find any completely useless mathematics, except perhaps the Collatz Conjecture.

My point still stands though: a mathematician is much more capable of doing biology or physics than a biologist or physicist is capable of doing mathematics. I mean... what biologists are there that have ever done worthwhile mathematics? There are probably one or two historical examples that you could dig up. I personally know about a dozen mathematicians who have done significant biological research.


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StuartN
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26 Aug 2010, 11:20 am

ruveyn wrote:
Some mathematicians do research in areas totally unconnected to physics or the hard physical sciences.


My qualifications are in mathematics, most of my work has been in medical research.



Helixstein
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27 Aug 2010, 7:36 am

In theory, maths is an area of science - thus, all mathematicians are scientists. In my humble opinion anyway.


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