Jean-François COLONNA
CMAP (Centre de Mathématiques APpliquées) UMR CNRS 7641, Ecole Polytechnique, CNRS, 91128 Palaiseau Cedex, France
france telecom, France Telecom R&D

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(CMAP28 WWW site: this page was created on 01/25/2001 and last updated on 09/11/2020 10:53:38 -CEST-)

[en français/in french]


Mathematics play a very particular role in the quest for Knowledge. Whether mathematicians are involved in invention or discovery, the tools that they develop have constituted the very basis of Science for more than 2000 years. Mathematics, which has been considered for too long as a mere language in which to formulate the laws of nature, is now recognised as a creative thought process that can be used to discover new entities and phenomena... The remarkable succes of the Standard Model of elementary particles and their interactions or of the General Relativity confirms this evolution in thinking.

Yet Scientific Knowledge is undoubtedly not the only way of comprehending the infinite wealth of phenomena in our Universe. Art, the quest for beauty and the indefinable, is another way forward, a means of progress that is parallel to the means provided by Science, and we surmise that still more possibilities exist, probably more than we could ever imagine. Yet it is an undeniable fact that, with a few exceptions (Leonardo da Vinci being the best known), these two paths seldom cross. Setting aside the frequent lack of pluridisciplinary knowledge in creators working in specific domains, there are few major works influenced by the Science of their day and, inversely, very few scientific theories that make use of the harmony provided by the senses (we exclude, of course, the notion of aesthetics as expressed in a scientific theory).

Computer science, which has enabled researchers to make progress to an extent that was inconceivable just a few years ago, will soon be giving artists the means of achieving heights and countries that are yet unexplored. At last, it will reconcile them and place them fairly and squarely on the road to the invention (or discovery?) of new realities that are at present slumbering in the memories of our (Virtual Space-Time Travel) Machines...

From the infinitely small to the infinitely big

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Copyright (c) Jean-François Colonna, 2001-2020.
Copyright (c) France Telecom R&D and CMAP (Centre de Mathématiques APpliquées) UMR CNRS 7641 / Ecole Polytechnique, 2001-2020.