My two main passions

The ocean and mathematics. Both worlds are starkly otherly, yet, they are deeply connected to our human and social world.

The ocean are the vastest ecosystem on the planet, hosting the invisible processes that support life on earth and that allowed our evolution as primates. Mathematics is a territory of the human mind. It’s development has been fundamental in bringing us from primates to the social and technological beings we are today.

Like the oceans, mathematics has been exploited to support our massively populated consumer-industrial society, turning many areas of it dry and lifeless, others controlled by the military. Like mathematics, the oceans have pockets unaffected by human greed, which can be explored by those who are committed to its exploration.

These are my two main passions. One is experienced via the body, the other via the intellect. And yet they are so similar at many levels.

Both are mysterious and tantalising in depth, breadth and variety. Dazzlingly complex ecosystems. Unseen connections and deep undercurrents. Uncompromising and yet extremely dependable, and bountiful in a variety of ways to the people that can explore them.

Most people are content with visiting the shore every once and again, going to the beach, cliff diving, learning arithmetic and a bit of geometry in school. Yet a minority of humans is dedicated to a life in constant contact with the depths. You have sailors, divers, fishermen, and surfers, and you have physicists, topologists, computer scientists, mathemagicians amidst the unending varieties of explorers, experience-seekers, and people simply making a living with these vast realities. No one person can ever hope to know them fully, but they might feel they can never truly leave.

I’m one of those people who works with the depths, as a researcher in theoretical physics, I deeply miss the ocean. Perhaps maths has been a surrogate for my lack of ocean. Or maybe maths has been more of a mature, or simply safer, way to interface with the mysterious and expansive. Looking for a balance in my life.