What We Are Reading Today: Physical Intelligence by Scott Grafton

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Updated 13 February 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Physical Intelligence by Scott Grafton

Elegantly written and deeply grounded in personal experience —reminiscent of works by Oliver Sacks — this book gives us a clear, illuminating examination of action intelligence, the fundamental relationship between the physical world and the mind, according to a review published on goodreads.com.

Using behavioral neurology and cognitive neuroscience as a lens, Scott Grafton accounts for the workings and the design of the action-oriented brain, bringing to light the action intelligence inherent in all of us and which is always busy solving problems of physicality: Ever wonder why you don’t walk into walls or off cliffs? How do you decide if you can drive through a snowstorm? How high are you willing to climb up a ladder to change a lightbulb? 

Grafton draws from the insights and discoveries of engineers who have learned to emulate the sophisticated solutions that nature created for managing incredibly complex behavior, and demonstrates the relevance of action intelligence with examples that each of us might face.


What We Are Reading Today: The Best Writing on Mathematics by Mircea Pitici

Updated 25 November 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Best Writing on Mathematics by Mircea Pitici

This annual anthology brings together the year’s finest mathematics writing from around the world. Featuring promising new voices alongside some of the foremost names in the field, The Best Writing on Mathematics 2020 makes available to a wide audience many articles not easily found anywhere else—and you don’t need to be a mathematician to enjoy them. These writings offer surprising insights into the nature, meaning, and practice of mathematics today. They delve into the history, philosophy, teaching, and everyday aspects of math, and take readers behind the scenes of today’s hottest mathematical debates.

Here, Steven Strogatz reveals how calculus drives advances in virology, Paul Thagard argues that the power of mathematics stems from its combination of realistic and fictional qualities, and Erica Klarreich describes how Hao Huang used the combinatorics of cube nodes to solve a longstanding problem in computer science. In other essays, John Baez tells how he discovered the irresistible attractions of algebraic geometry.