Letters from the June 26, 2004, issue of Science News | Science News



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Letters to the Editor

Letters from the June 26, 2004, issue of Science News

12:08pm, June 21, 2004

Theory and practice

Like physicists, mathematicians have always been divided into theorists and experimentalists ("Math Lab: Computer experiments are transforming mathematics," SN: 4/24/04, p. 266: Math Lab). And, as with the physicists, the two groups of mathematicians have not gotten along very well. Still, in physics, there has always been an understanding that both groups are necessary, whereas during the past century or so, it has been possible to pretend that theorists are the only "real" mathematicians. I think this is a shame, and I hope both groups will try harder to get along.

Brian K. Schmidt
Carlisle, Mass.

I strongly agree that new computer-based mathematical tools are having a revolutionary impact. The article brought to mind the sensation caused in 1989 when the program Mathematica was first demonstrated on the University of Rochester campus to a standing room–only crowd of gr

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