This memory is sparked by some writing I have been doing for a textbook. So it doesn't start off in the same sort of very personal place that some of my other memories of Eli or Miriam have. (It will get there soon enough.) Instead, what got me thinking was writing about research on the Bystander Effect.
The Bystander Effect is a well-documented phenomenon in social psychology. Suppose that someone is the victim of some kind of emergency (like a heart attack or a traffic accident or even an assault). Then, the more bystanders witness the emergency, the less likely it is that the victim will receive help from any of them. In 1968, social scientists John Darley and Bibb Latané conducted a famous experiment in which they showed that the chance of a single bystander intervening in a staged emergency situation was 85 percent, but this dropped to 31 percent when five bystanders were believed to be present. Somehow, the fact that other people are not intervening "licenses" me not to intervene also - even though, were I alone, I would clearly see my duty to help.
From the Icosahedron to E8 - Here is a little article I’m writing for the Newsletter of the London Mathematical Society. The regular icosahedron is connected to many ‘exceptional objec...
1 day ago