This is the title of an upcoming NOVA special. The question in the tag line: Is math invented by humans, or is it the language of the universe? It will be interesting to see how they answer that question. My best guess is that the program will conclude by saying that it is a little of both, but the journey to getting there should be interesting.

Join NOVA on a mathematical mystery tour—a provocative exploration of math’s astonishing power across the centuries. We discover math’s signature in the swirl of a nautilus shell, the whirlpool of a galaxy, and the spiral in the center of a sunflower. Math was essential to everything from the first wireless radio transmissions to the prediction and discovery of the Higgs boson and the successful landing of rovers on Mars. Astrophysicist and writer Mario Livio, along with a colorful cast of mathematicians, physicists, and engineers, follow math from Pythagoras to Einstein and beyond. It all leads to the ultimate riddle: Is math a human invention or the discovery of the language of the universe?

I see that the lead personality of this show will be Mario Livio, author of the popular secular book “Is God a Mathematician?” In that book he concludes, as you suggested, that math is part invention, part discovery.

Scott EberleMarch 24, 2015 / 8:33 AMI see that the lead personality of this show will be Mario Livio, author of the popular secular book “Is God a Mathematician?” In that book he concludes, as you suggested, that math is part invention, part discovery.