Mathematics: The Next Generation

Historical Backgroud:

Math evolves since antiquity, from Babylon, Egypt 5,000 years ago, through Greek, China, India 3,000 years ago, then the Arabs in the 10th century taught the Renaissance Europeans the Hindu-Arabic numerals and Algebra, Math progressed at a condensed rapid pace ever since: complex numbers to solve cubic equations in 16th century Italy, followed by the 17 CE French Cartersian Analytical Geometry, Fermat’s Number Theory,…, finally by the 19 CE to solve quintic equations of degree 5 and above, a new type of Abstract Math was created by a French genius 19-year-old Evariste Galois in “Group Theory”. The “Modern Math” was born since, it quickly develops into over 4,000 sub-branches of Math, but the origin of Math is still the same eternal truth.

Math Education Flaw: 本末倒置 Put the cart before the horse.

Math has been taught wrongly since young, either is boring, or scary, or mechanically (calculating).

This lecture by Queen Mary College (U. London) Prof Cameron is one of the rare Mathematician changing that pedagogy. Math is a “Universal Language of Truths” with unambiguous, logical syntax which transcends over eternity.

I like the brilliant idea of making the rigorous Math foundation compulsory for all S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) undergraduate students. Prof S.S. Chern 陈省身 (Wolf Prize) after retirement in Nankai University (南开大学, 天津, China) also made basic “Abstract Algebra” course compulsory for all Chinese S.T.E.M. undergraduates in 2000s.

The foundations Prof Cameron teaches are centered around 4 Math Objects:

1. SET 集合
– Set is the founding block of the 20th century Modern Math, hitherto introduced into the world’s university textbooks by the French “Bourbaki” school (André Weil et al) after WW1.

Note: The last “Bourbaki” grand master Grothendieck proposed to replace Set by Category. That will be the next century Math for future Artificial Intelligence Era, aka “The 4th Human Revolution”.

– A vision first proposed by the German Gottingen School’s greatest Math Educator Felix Klein, who said Functions can be visualised in graphs, so it is the best tool to learn mathematical abstractness.

– The German mathematician Leopold Kronecker, who once wrote that “God made the integers; all else is the work of man.”

– The universe is composed of numbers in “NZQRC” (ie Natural numbers, Integers, Rationals, Reals, Complex numbers). After C (Complex), no more further split of new numbers. Why?

4. Proofs
– reading and debugging proofs.

Example 1: Proof by Contradiction, aka Reductio ad Absurdum (Euclid’s Proof on Infinitely Many Prime Numbers)


Challenge the proof: Why ?
Induction intuitively by:


Example 2: Proof by Logic

By Reasoning (which is unconscious), most would get “2 & A” (wrong answer)

By Logic (using consciousness), then you can proof …
Correct Answer: 2 and B
Test on all 3 Truth cases below in Truth Table:
p = front side
q = back side


Recommended The Best Book on Abstract Algebra by Prof. Peter J. Cameron

Twin Prime Hero

On April 17, 2013, a paper arrived in the inbox of Annals of Mathematics, one of the discipline’s preeminent journals. Written by a mathematician virtually unknown to the experts in his field — a 50-something lecturer at the University of New Hampshire named Yitang Zhang — the paper claimed to have taken a huge step forward in understanding one of mathematics’ oldest problems, the twin primes conjecture.

Editors of prominent mathematics journals are used to fielding grandiose claims from obscure authors, but this paper was different. Written with crystalline clarity and a total command of the topic’s current state of the art, it was evidently a serious piece of work, and the Annals editors decided to put it on the fast track.

Yitang Zhang (Photo: University of New Hampshire)

Just three weeks later — a blink of an eye compared to the usual pace of mathematics journals — Zhang received the referee report on his paper.

“The main results are of the first rank,” one of the referees wrote. The author had proved “a landmark theorem in the distribution of prime numbers.”

Rumors swept through the mathematics community that a great advance had been made by a researcher no one seemed to know — someone whose talents had been so overlooked after he earned his doctorate in 1991 that he had found it difficult to get an academic job, working for several years as an accountant and even in a Subway sandwich shop.

“Basically, no one knows him,” said Andrew Granville, a number theorist at the Université de Montréal. “Now, suddenly, he has proved one of the great results in the history of number theory.”

Mathematicians at Harvard University hastily arranged for Zhang to present his work to a packed audience there on May 13. As details of his work have emerged, it has become clear that Zhang achieved his result not via a radically new approach to the problem, but by applying existing methods with great perseverance.

“The big experts in the field had already tried to make this approach work,” Granville said. “He’s not a known expert, but he succeeded where all the experts had failed.”


There are a lot of chances in your career, but the important thing is to keep thinking,” Zhang said.