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Tagged with “mathematics” (41)

  1. Public key cryptography

    Geeks versus government – the story of public key cryptography.

    Take a very large prime number – one that is not divisible by anything other than itself. Then take another. Multiply them together. That is simple enough, and it gives you a very, very large “semi-prime” number. That is a number that is divisible only by two prime numbers. Now challenge someone else to take that semi-prime number, and figure out which two prime numbers were multiplied together to produce it. That, it turns out, is exceptionally hard. Some mathematics are a lot easier to perform in one direction than another. Public key cryptography works by exploiting this difference. And without it we would not have the internet as we know it. Tim Harford tells the story of public key cryptography – and the battle between the geeks who developed it, and the government which tried to control it.

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  2. BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, e

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Euler’s number, also known as e. First discovered in the seventeenth century by the Swiss mathematician Jacob Bernoulli when he was studying compound interest, e is now recognised as one of the most important and interesting numbers in mathematics. Roughly equal to 2.718, e is useful in studying many everyday situations, from personal savings to epidemics. It also features in Euler’s Identity, sometimes described as the most beautiful equation ever written.


    Colva Roney-Dougal Reader in Pure Mathematics at the University of St Andrews

    June Barrow-Green Senior Lecturer in the History of Maths at the Open University

    Vicky Neale Whitehead Lecturer at the Mathematical Institute and Balliol College at the University of Oxford

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  3. BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Fermat’s Last Theorem

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Fermat’s Last Theorem. In 1637 the French mathematician Pierre de Fermat scribbled a note in the margin of one of his books. He claimed to have proved a remarkable property of numbers, but gave no clue as to how he’d gone about it. "I have found a wonderful demonstration of this proposition," he wrote, "which this margin is too narrow to contain". Fermat’s theorem became one of the most iconic problems in mathematics and for centuries mathematicians struggled in vain to work out what his proof had been. In the 19th century the French Academy of Sciences twice offered prize money and a gold medal to the person who could discover Fermat’s proof; but it was not until 1995 that the puzzle was finally solved by the British mathematician Andrew Wiles.


    Marcus du Sautoy Professor of Mathematics & Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford

    Vicky Neale Fellow and Director of Studies in Mathematics at Murray Edwards College at the University of Cambridge

    Samir Siksek Professor at the Mathematics Institute at the University of Warwick.

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  4. BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, P v NP

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the problem of P versus NP, which has a bearing on online security. There is a $1,000,000 prize on offer from the Clay Mathematical Institute for the first person to come up with a complete solution. At its heart is the question "are there problems for which the answers can be checked by computers, but not found in a reasonable time?" If the answer to that is yes, then P does not equal NP. However, if all answers can be found easily as well as checked, if only we knew how, then P equals NP. The area has intrigued mathematicians and computer scientists since Alan Turing, in 1936, found that it’s impossible to decide in general whether an algorithm will run forever on some problems. Resting on P versus NP is the security of all online transactions which are currently encrypted: if it transpires that P=NP, if answers could be found as easily as checked, computers could crack passwords in moments.

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  5. Interview with Alex Bellos, author of the book Grapes of Math: How Life Reflects Number and Numbers Reflect Life.

    On "Word of Mouth" program on New Hampshire Public Radio

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  6. The Infinite Monkey Cage: Numbers Numbers Everywhere

    Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by comedian Dave Gorman, and maths author Alex Bellos, and number theorist Vicky Neale to discuss the joy of numbers and why we are all closet mathematicians at heart.

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  7. Ep97 – Steven Strogatz | The Bryan Callen Show

    Steven Strogatz has a really impressive resumé. Besides being a professor at Cornell, he also has the sixth most highly cited paper in all of physics and his 1998 paper “Collective dynamics of small-world networks” was the most highly cited paper in its field for a decade. Cool as all of that is that’s not what excites us most about Steven Strogatz, because as you look at his resumé you realize that Strogatz is perhaps the greatest living popularizer of something that underpins all of our lives but most people have (at best) mixed feelings about: math. As the author of a series of NY Times columns that the Harvard Business Review “must reads for entrepreneurs and executives who grasp that mathematics is now the lingua franca of serious business analysis.” Those columns have now been collected in an awesome book called The Joy of X: A Guided Tour of Math From One to Infinity. From basic arithmetic to calculus and beyond, Strogatz shows readers not just what math is but puts it in a context that allows us to experience the beauty of math regardless of how much math we actually know. In this interview, Professor Strogatz discusses his book and gives Bryan and Hunter an inside look at the life of a top-level mathematician. They discuss math prodigies, cultural beliefs at math and the importance of constantly striving for excellence every day even if you’re not sure it’ll pay necessarily pay off. This conversation will not only teach you the Joy of X; it will teach you the Joy of Talking to Professor Strogatz.

    Steven Strogatz is the author of three books: The Calculus of Friendship, Sync and The Joy of X. They’re all available at Amazon and everywhere else. Also, check out his awesome TED talk about how flocks of birds and other animals sync up:

    Steven Strogatz is on twitter @stevenstrogatz. Be sure to check out his website

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  8. TED: Adam Spencer: Why I fell in love with monster prime numbers - Adam Spencer (2013)

    They’re millions of digits long, and it takes an army of mathematicians and machines to hunt them down — what’s not to love about monster primes? Adam Spencer, comedian and lifelong math geek, shares his passion for these odd numbers, and for the mysterious magic of math.

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  9. 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.

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  10. Attack of the algorithms

    Robot traders are dominating stock markets using high speed computer algorithms. Human traders and government regulators can’t keep up, and markets could be one programming glitch away from the next big crash. Stan Correy investigates.

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