Scientific theory can appear much clearer, easier to learn and understand if expressed it in its own words – French mathematician Sylvain Poirier


Kyiv, May 4, 2016. French mathematician and physicist Sylvain Poirier is going to offer free lessons to groups of English-speaking students interested in discovering scientific theories through alternative forms of explanation. The first classes will start in summer 2016. “I’ll try to follow the demand, maybe at different places, for short periods from one session to few weeks, limited by my right to stay in Ukraine (3 months every 6 months). I would focus on topics still less developed on my site: geometry, relativity, quantum physics, linear algebra and tensors. I believe it can be very interesting for people really motivated by science,” explained Mr. Poirier at a press-conference in Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

Sylvain Poirier finds the traditional model of teaching and studying sciences too conservative and inflexible. As a result, there is little room left for any alternative approach and innovations. “I like abstractions, I deeply understand these theories and I agree they are correct. The problem is how they are usually formulated in teaching: usually, teachers passively repeat things the way they were written when initially discovered, even if better ways could be found since then. They are too quickly satisfied to know that a theory is correct, and do not care that the same theory can be formulated in better ways for intuition and pedagogical aspects. A theory can appear much clearer, easier to learn and more amazing to understand by directly expressing it in, I would say, its own language”, explains Mr. Poirier.

For this reason he left official teaching and developed his own website There he started to explain how some of the most fundamental theories should be expressed at the undergraduate level: in pure mathematics (a new axiomatization of set theory, Gödel’s completeness and incompleteness theorems, geometry), and in physics (relativity, statistical thermodynamics and quantum physics). ”In such ways, skilled and motivated students could learn some of the most interesting topics of math and physics in something like one trimester, while usual teaching takes years to study part of these (with other maybe less interesting topics). I also clarified the philosophical aspects: how the world of pure math is subject to a flow of its own time, and how quantum physics explains the interaction between mind and matter,” Sylvain Poirier said.

In a larger perspective, Sylvain Poirier hopes to use mathematical theories for finding solution to a number of global problems. One of his plans is to launch a new decentralized online social network. “It would include solutions to a few logical puzzles”, he explains. One of the objectives would be to provide an online voting system ”rather simple to understand and without cost so it can be used at anyone’s initiative, and even the organizers of a vote cannot know who voted what but participants can easily check and understand that the result is correct”. Another objective would be to develop optimal functions for diverse online markets: a job market together with reliable information on people’s real qualifications independently of our old system of diplomas. According to Mr. Poirier, it would be possible as well to develop an online dating system to let millions of people find others with common interests with the smallest searching effort. Finally, he offers to develop new structures of a “decentralized online justice directly effective on decentralized online money”.

To fulfill this plan, Mr. Poirier is going to create a startup that would unite “motivated web programmers and also people interested in science”. “For the software project I had the plan for years, the headlines are presented at, but only found few web programmers recently and I need more”, Sylvain Poirier says. He is also looking for those who would help promoting his online scientific courses, for example, translators, in order to make courses available for a larger number of students.