Just when I thought I’d figured it all out, comes shit like this:

‘They are the sort of equations that arise when you try to study something that evolves in time but also depends on space.
‘For example, like the wind in a wind tunnel you want to model the flow of air then that of course depends on time because it changes over time but it also depends on space – the velocity of the air is different at different points in the wind tunnel.
‘So if you have a system like this which furthermore evolves under the influence of randomness.
‘So if you have randomness that enters the game then that’s described by stochastic partial differential equation.’

I used to work with people like this when designing predictive algorithms, and I would place bets with myself as to how long (measured in seconds) it would take before I lost track of the conversation completely and the speech became unintelligible.  Usually, it was about twenty seconds.

It gets worse.  The reason I used “20 seconds” in the above sentence is because I actually kept count, over the year’s worth of discussions and meetings, of the times.  Then I created a distribution chart — bell-shaped, of course, with the most common incidence around 20.

Yeah, I was a fucking geek, too.  Just a much more limited one.

By the way, if you read the article — and you should — there’s a glaring (but non-mathematical) error.  Call it the Obama Fallacy, and see if you can spot it.


  1. “there’s a glaring (but non-mathematical) error. “

    Which one? I saw a couple. The most obvious is the photo of something that’s either “not tea” or something else that I probably don’t want to know what it is (the other most obvious one may be “buy a house in London with £2.3M” and it’s other people’s money to boot).

    But, thanks; I haven’t heard “stochastic” used in a sentence in, oh, almost 30 years, from back when I worked with a few people like the award winner, and today I got to see it half a dozen times.

  2. It’s only September of 2020 and he’s already won the 2021 prize? Oh, it’s Imperial College, home of the Covid19 forecasting. At least that guy had better taste (relatively speaking) in women. Now we should have a prize on calculating how long it takes him to get a mistress. £2.3million ought to move him up a few points on the SSH scale.

  3. As near as I can tell, he’s still working productively at 44, which is getting a bit old in mathematician years.

  4. This is why there’s a part of me that would love to take a crack at a doctoral thesis in Aerospace Engineering. “Predicting Heat Transfer In Highly Turbulent Non-Steady-State Flows”.

    AKA applying computational fluid dynamics to suppressor design. Bring a supercomputer. And a lot more programming skill than I have. Probably more math skills, too.

    I think I’ll stick to flight testing, where hypertrophied horse sense is a virtue.

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