Can we leverage Lisp to build an intuition about mathematical theories? I think so. If we translate the formulas of a mathematical system in Lisp code, we gain in at least two ways:

1, Readability: S-expressions are more familiar to Lispers than traditional mathematical notation.

2, Interactivity: With executable source code, we can experiment at the REPL, step through processes, and *construct* an understanding.

Taking this idea further, could we use Lisp to encode the mathematical system that birthed it, namely recursion theory? This is what I’m exploring in my new blog post, Lisp’s grandfather paradox.

I’ll be talking more on Lisp and its foundations at the upcoming Heart Of Clojure conference on September 18 & 19, Leuven, Belgium. I hope to see you there! Haven’t got a ticket yet? Use this link for a 5% discount.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Have you used Lisp to explore mathematical concepts? Share your experiences in the comments!