A coffee with...

Published on November 13th, 2013 | by Stephanie

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Luke Stickels

Position: PhD Candidate, Faculty of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne.  PhD topic: History and Political Philosophy.

How do you introduce yourself at parties?
“I’m Luke Stickels and I’m a failed writer. I’m also a lapsed PhD candidate. Get stuffed.” *sips drink*

Do you think that mathematicians deserve the “geek” tag?
Hell yes. Motivated by a theory, that maths is the basic language expressing the rules of anything you care to name. Major, ill-begotten geekery if ever I heard it.

How do you use maths in your work?
I once got paid to publish a chapter of my novel in a literary journal, and calculated that I had been paid $0.002/hour.

What has maths done for you lately?
It has been…reliable.

Do you have a favourite application or theory of maths?   And if you do, why is it so?
I’m interested in the philosophical underpinnings that drive maths research, the proofs that encourage us to place huge trust in it, while those who understand it best acknowledge that closed systems are always necessary, goal-oriented abstractions, and not the total knowledge we imagined in the first couple of decades of the 20th century. The key is not to go crazy.

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