# Tags / mathematics

## Tagged with “mathematics” (73)

1. ### 1729 — The First Taxicab Number

Episode five of A Further Five Numbers, the BBC radio series presented by Simon Singh.

Curious properties sometimes lurk within seemingly undistinguished numbers. 1729 sparked one of maths most famous anecdotes: a young Indian, Srinivasa Ramanujan, lay dying of TB in a London hospital. G.H. Hardy, the leading mathematician in England, visited him there. "I came over in cab number 1729," Hardy told Ramanujan. "That seems a rather dull number to me."

"Oh, no!" Ramanujan exclaimed. "1729 is the smallest number you can write as the sum of two cubes, in two different ways." Most of us would use a computer to figure out that 1³ 12³ = 9³ 10³ = 1729. Ramanujan did it from his sickbed without blinking.

2. ### 6.67 x 10^-11 – The Number That Defines the Universe.

Episode four of A Further Five Numbers, the BBC radio series presented by Simon Singh.

Newton’s equation of gravity included a number G, which indicates the strength of gravitation. It took 100 years before the shy Englishman Henry Cavendish (he left notes for his maids because he was too shy to talk to women) measured G to be 6.67 x 10^-11 Nm²/Kg². It allowed him to weigh the Earth itself. There has been an ever-greater desire to measure this number with accuracy, which even implied an antigravity at times. How did we measure this tiny number and what does it mean for the universe? The Astronomer Royal Martin Rees explains that a large value for G would mean that stars would burn too quickly and a low value would mean that the stars would not form in the first place, so is G perfectly tuned for life? Is God a mathematician?

3. ### 1 — The Most Popular Number

Episode one of A Further Five Numbers, the BBC radio series presented by Simon Singh.

Literally, the most popular number, as it appears more often than any other number. More specifically, the first digit of all numbers is a 1 about 30% of the time, whereas it is 9 just 4% of time. This was accidentally discovered by the engineer Frank Benford. It works for all numbers – mountain heights, river lengths, populations, etc.

5. ### Remembering The Father Of Artificial Intelligence : NPR

John McCarthy, the computer scientist who coined the term "artificial intelligence" in 1955, died Monday at age 84. Weekend Edition’s math guy Keith Devlin has this remembrance.

http://www.npr.org/2011/10/29/141823759/remembering-the-father-of-artificial-intelligence

6. ### To Make Algebra Fun, Rethink The Problem : NPR

For most people, the word "algebra" conjures classroom memories of Xs and Ys. Weekend Edition’s math guy, Keith Devlin, says that’s because most schools do a terrible job of teaching it. He talks with host Scott Simon about what algebra really is. Plus, Devlin explains how algebra took off in Baghdad, the Silicon Valley of the ninth century.

http://www.npr.org/2011/12/24/144219472/to-make-algebra-fun-rethink-the-problem

7. ### Finally, The Physics Of The Ponytail Explained : NPR

Scientists in Britain have been trying to determine whether the shape of a ponytail can be deduced from the properties of a single hair. Host Scott Simon talks with Weekend Edition Math Guy Keith Devlin about a new, soon-to-be-published study that has the answer.

http://www.npr.org/2012/02/18/147090057/finally-the-physics-of-the-ponytail-explained

8. ### Mathematician’s Work Lives On In Everyday Life : NPR

The British computer pioneer and wartime code-breaker Alan Turing was born 100 years ago Saturday. With today’s world so dominated by the computer, Turing’s work impacts all our lives on a daily basis. Host Scott Simon talks with Stanford professor Keith Devlin about this remarkable man.

http://www.npr.org/2012/06/23/155622576/mathematicians-work-lives-on-in-everyday-life

9. ### Math En Masse: Teaching Online For Free : NPR

Host Scott Simon talks with Weekend Edition math guy Keith Devlin, who recently wrapped up his first MOOC, or massive open online course. He taught an Introduction to Mathematical Thinking course to 62,000 students from around the world, ages 16 to 70.

http://www.npr.org/2012/11/24/165806787/math-en-masse-teaching-online-for-free

10. ### Steven Strogatz: The Joy Of X : NPR

In The Joy of X: A Guided Tour of Math, from One to Infinity, mathematician Steven Strogatz provides an entertaining refresher course in math, starting with the most elementary ideas, such as counting, and finishing with mind-bending theories of infinity—including the idea that some infinities can be bigger than others.

http://www.npr.org/2012/10/05/162372203/steven-strogatz-the-joy-of-x

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