A Mathematician’s View of Proof

Gresham College

June 4

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The idea of proof is fundamental to mathematics. We could argue that science consists of testable theories, and therefore that it is about what can be disproved, not what can be proved. In law, the test is “beyond reasonable doubt”.

Famous conjectures in mathematics have been tested by computers for trillions of numbers – but we still call them conjectures.

In this lecture we’ll talk about what mathematicians mean by proof, and I’ll show you some of my favourites.