Maths and Storytelling
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the relationship between maths and storytelling. Is there a hidden mathematical logic in stories? The American mathematician John Allen Paulos thinks so. It’s an intriguing thought. Patterns, measurement, the logic of jokes, numerology from Leviticus to Alice in Wonderland, but does it really go to the square root of fiction? According to anthropologists, both have similar origins  in our prehistoric ancestors’ need to measure and assess the world around them. Both mathematics and stories need a shape and structure to make any sense. But does it go further than that? Is it possible to apply mathematical logic to literature or to reduce a joke to an algebraic equation? Or are literary imagination and scientific substance irreconcilable?With John Allen Paulos, Presidential Scholar of Mathematics, Temple University, Philadelphia and author of Once Upon a Number  The hidden mathematical logic of stories; Marina Warner, novelist, historian, critic, former Reith Lecturer and Visiting Professor at Birkbeck College, London.
Guests

John Allen Paulos No other episodes
Presidential Scholar of Mathematics, Temple University, Philadelphia  Marina Warner
3 episodes
Visiting Professor at Birkbeck College, London
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Programme ID: p0054625
Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0054625
Autocategory: 510 (Mathematics)