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How to aim for the top and other secrets for success in science: an interview with Professor Emeritus Erkki Oja

 

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In this episode I have the honour of introducing you to one of the giants of unsupervised machine learning and more generally of mathematics applied to statistical algorithms, Professor Emeritus Erkki Oja. I met Erkki met an artificial intelligence meetup in Helsinki Read more

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How Does Music Influence Brain? Interview with Cognitive Scientist of Music Perception Mari Tervaniemi

Mari and I in Minerva Building

Does playing music to a not-yet-born child in the womb have a positive effect on the brain’s development? Yes, says Mari Tervaniemi, a brain research scientist who was one of the pioneers in the cognitive science of music perception when the field started in the 1980’s. She is still working in that area. On the other hand music can also help to treat dementia and Parkinson’s disease. The  youngest (born) participants in a Mari Tervaniemi’s experiment was 2 days old and the oldest were in their 90’s.

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Currently Mari is working projects which you can find here: Read more

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Art vs. Mathematics and How to Get Something from Nothing: An interview with Markus Rissanen

I wrote previously about Markus Rissanen when I still didn’t know him personally. Markus is a professional artist who has been fascinated by tilings and their mathematical properties such as symmetries and regularities ever since he was very young. As explained in my previous post, Markus eventually solved the problem of generalising some quasiperiodic properties of Penrose tilings from 5-fold symmetry to n-fold symmetry for any positive integer n. In this interview we briefly touch the subject of tilings. Then we talk about the difference between mathematical work, artistic work and the work of writing a PhD thesis in which Markus was engaged for the past four years. I got to ask him a question that has been bothering me for a long time: Why don’t artists, especially painters do joint work? At least significantly less frequently than, say, mathematicians, who are traditionally considered to be “lonely workers” (not the case! See my interview with Olli Martio). Another important topic we touch upon is what to do when you do not have inspiration? Here is part of Markus’ answer:

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How to Turn 5 Seconds a Year into Unlimited Source of Motivation: An interview with Professor Emeritus Olli Martio

Olli Martio and Vadim Kulikov

Olli Martio (right), me (left).

For no less than 25 years out of his career, Olli Martio (born 1941) was a chair of one of the mathematics departments in Finland: at the universities of Jyväskylä and Helsinki. He retired seven years ago, but he hasn’t stopped working nor making ground breaking progress in mathematics. For the last six years he was employed by the Academy of Finland. In 1964, when he was still a graduate student, he had a side job programming one of the first IBM computers in Europe. I was rather surprised to hear what was the main purpose of these machines at the time: printing lots of data on paper. Well, at the time paper was the main medium for data storage after all.

For me the main take-aways of this interview include:

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Ewa and Vadim at Jeff Koons exhibition London
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Art as sanity coping and how to follow your passion: An interview with Ewa Wilczynski

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In this episode I interview Ewa Wilczynski.  Read more

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Understanding Abstract Thinking: An Interview with Rafael Núñez

Rafael & Vadim in Chile

Rafael & Vadim in Chile

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View on YouTube

 In 2009 I ordered the book “Where Mathematics Comes From: How The Embodied Mind Brings Mathematics Into Being.

This was my first encounter with Rafael — in the form of reading this book by him and Lakoff. The book was also my first encounter with cognitive science of mathematics which has now become one of my main scientific interests. In particular I learned about number subitizing which is the ability of very young children (in some experiments as young as two days after birth) which is shared by most mammals to distinguish small quantities from each other: two spots from three spots or even two sounds from three spots making the numerocity really the essential factor. I was fascinated by the science of mathematical cognition.

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How to be the Artist You Want: An Interview with Bella Volen

Bella and I in her studio in Vienna.

Bella and I in her studio in Vienna.

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Download the mp3 file by right-clicking here.

Bella Volen is a Bulgarian born artist based in Vienna, Austria. She creates amazing art installations through painting on virtually everything: canvas, humans, balloons, guitars, walls, … the list is endless. Here are some of my favourites:

For more of Bella’s art, recent news and all you want to know, visit www.bella-volen.com, www.bodypainting-event.com and www.artgallery-vienna.com.

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