Science & Math

Unquote

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Julia_set_%28highres_01%29.jpg

“Why are numbers beautiful? It’s like asking why is Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony beautiful. If you don’t see why, someone can’t tell you. I know numbers are beautiful. If they aren’t beautiful, nothing is.” — Paul Erdös

Math Notes

73939133
7393913
739391
73939
7393
739
73
7

… are all prime. So are:

357686312646216567629137
57686312646216567629137
7686312646216567629137
686312646216567629137
86312646216567629137
6312646216567629137
312646216567629137
12646216567629137
2646216567629137
646216567629137
46216567629137
6216567629137
216567629137
16567629137
6567629137
567629137
67629137
7629137
629137
29137
9137
137
37
7

But see Not So Fast.

No Comment

Viagra keeps plants from wilting.

Israeli and Australian researchers found that a low concentration in water doubled the shelf life of cut flowers, from one week to two weeks.

Recursive Gratitude

Mathematician J.E. Littlewood once wrote a paper for the French journal Comptes Rendus. A Prof. M. Riesz did the translation, and at the end Littlewood found three footnotes:

I am greatly indebted to Prof. Riesz for translating the present paper.

I am indebted to Prof. Riesz for translating the preceding footnote.

I am indebted to Prof. Riesz for translating the preceding footnote.

Littlewood notes that this could have gone on indefinitely but “I stop legitimately at number 3: however little French I know I am capable of copying a French sentence.”

Math Notes

73 × 9 × 42 = 7 × 3942

All Art Is Theft

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:VanGogh-starry_night_ballance1.jpg

Irish astronomer William Parsons might have been surprised to see van Gogh’s The Starry Night appear in 1889.

He had drawn this sketch of the Whirlpool Galaxy 44 years earlier:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:M51Sketch.jpg

Pop Quiz

When calculating prodigy Truman Henry Safford was 10 years old, the Rev. H.W. Adams asked him to square the number 365,365,365,365,365,365 in his head. Dr. Adams wrote:

He flew around the room like a top, pulled his pantaloons over the tops of his boots, bit his hands, rolled his eyes in their sockets, sometimes smiling and talking, and then seeming to be in agony, until in not more than a minute said he, 133,491,850,208,566,925,016,658,299,941,583,255!

Safford (1836-1901) went to Harvard and became director of the Hopkins Observatory at Williams College. Strangely, his calculating abilities seemed to wane as he got older.

Math Notes

Hate exponents? Just cancel them:

canceling exponents 2

canceling exponents 1

See also Reductio Ad Absurdum.

Euler’s Identity

You know these numbers:

constants

On the surface they appear unrelated. e is the base of natural logarithms, i is imaginary, π concerns circles. But, amazingly:

Euler's identity

Harvard mathematician Benjamin Peirce told a class, “It is absolutely paradoxical; we cannot understand it, and we don’t know what it means, but we have proved it, and therefore we know it must be the truth.”

Still a Sin?

A man’s likelihood of being gay increases by 33 percent for each older brother he has.

Audition

In 2004 a mysterious billboard appeared in Silicon Valley; Cambridge, Mass.; Seattle; and Austin, Texas. It read:

{first 10-digit prime found in consecutive digits of e}.com

Most people know that e (2.718281828 …) is the base of natural logarithms, but searching it for a 10-digit prime string is a considerable task — the first such string, 7427466391, starts at the 101st digit.

Solvers who went to http://7427466391.com found an even more difficult problem to solve. But solving that led them to a page at Google Labs … inviting them to submit a resume.

A Stubborn Prime

Type 120121 into a calculator and you’ll find it’s prime every way you look at it: right side up, upside down (121021), in a mirror (151051), or both (150151).

Math Notes

35 – 32 – 52 = 75 – 72 – 52

Rimshot

A neutron walks into a bar and orders a beer.

“How much do I owe you?” he says.

“For you,” says the bartender, “no charge.”

A Mathematical Limerick

math limerick

The integral z-squared dz
From one to the cube root of three
Times the cosine
Of three pi over nine
Equals log of the cube root of e.

Math Notes

144648 = 861 × 168 = 492 × 294

185472 = 672 × 276 = 384 × 483

9949716 = 2583 × 3852 = 1476 × 6741

16746912 = 2556 × 6552 = 4473 × 3744

The Goldbach Conjecture

Every even number is the sum of two primes.

Is that true? No one knows. Originally proposed in 1742, it’s been tested as far as 1018, but the jury’s still out.

Black Tie Optional

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Crystal_palace_iguanodon.gif

English biologist Richard Owen designed a collection of life-size concrete dinosaurs for London’s Crystal Palace.

On New Year’s Eve 1853, he hosted a dinner for 21 inside the iguanodon.

Live and Let Die

James Bond never really explains why he likes his martinis “shaken, not stirred,” so in 1999 the University of Western Ontario’s biochemistry department decided to find out.

They discovered that a shaken gin martini has stronger antioxidant properties than a stirred one — which would help Bond avoid cardiovascular disease, stroke, and cataracts.

In their writeup for the British Medical Journal, they conclude, “007’s profound state of health may be due, at least in part, to compliant bartenders.”

See also Silly Old Bear.

A Self-Descriptive Number

In the number 6210001000:

  • The digit 0 occurs 6 times
  • The digit 1 occurs 2 times
  • The digit 2 occurs 1 time
  • The digit 3 occurs 0 times
  • The digit 4 occurs 0 times
  • The digit 5 occurs 0 times
  • The digit 6 occurs 1 time
  • The digit 7 occurs 0 times
  • The digit 8 occurs 0 times
  • The digit 9 occurs 0 times

See also The Quick Brown Fox …

Math Notes

115132219018763992565095597973971522401 = 139 + 139 + 539 + 139 + 339 + 239 + 239 + 139 + 939 + 039 + 139 + 839 + 739 + 639 + 339 + 939 + 939 + 239 + 539 + 639 + 539 + 039 + 939 + 539 + 539 + 939 + 739 + 939 + 739 + 339 + 939 + 739 + 139 + 539 + 239 + 239 + 439 + 039 + 139

One-Sided Issue

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Recycle001.svg

The international symbol for recycling depicts a Möbius strip.

Do Animals Have Emotions?

In 1984, a pet kitten was given to Koko, the Stanford University gorilla who communicates through sign language.

She cared for it as a baby gorilla until December of that year, when the cat escaped from her cage and was run down by a car.

When her trainers told Koko what had happened, she gave the signs for two words.

They were “cry” and “sad.”

Ahem

The statement “no statements are true unless they can be proven scientifically” cannot be proven scientifically.