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Tagged with “simon singh” (14)

  1. The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments

    Join George Johnson, the acclaimed New York Times science writer, on a journey back in time to when the world seemed filled with mysterious forces, when scientists were dazzled by light, by electricity, and by the beating of the hearts they laid bare on the dissecting table.

    Johnson looks back to the ideal of earlier centuries at the ten most fascinating experiments in the history of science: moments when a curious soul posed a particularly eloquent question to nature and received a crisp, unambiguous reply.

    Chair: Simon Singh, science writer


    —Huffduffed by ninthart

  2. The Number Four

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

    Simon Singh's journey begins with the number 4, which for over a century has fuelled one of the most elusive problems in mathematics: is it true that any map can be coloured with just 4 colours so that no two neighbouring countries have the same colour? This question has tested some of the most imaginative minds — including Lewis Carroll's — and the eventual solution has aided the design of some of the world's most complex air and road networks.

    —Huffduffed by ninthart

  3. The Largest Prime Number

    Episode three of Another Five Numbers, the BBC radio series presented by Simon Singh.

    Think of a number. Any number. Chances are you haven't plumped for 2 to the power of 13,466,917 -1. To get this, you would need to keep multiplying 2 by itself 13,466,917 times, and then subtract 1 from the result. When written down it's 4,053,900 digits long and fills 2 telephone directories. So, as you can imagine, it's not the kind of number you're likely to stumble over often. Unless you're Bill Gates checking your bank statement at the end of the month.

    —Huffduffed by ninthart

  4. Kepler’s Conjecture

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

    Johannes Kepler experimented with different ways of stacking spheres. He concluded that the "face-centred cubic lattice" was best. Using this method, Kepler calculated that the packing efficiency rose to 74%, constituting the highest efficiency you could ever get. But, how to prove it?

    —Huffduffed by ninthart

  5. Game Theory

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

    In 2000, the UK government received a windfall of around £23 billion from its auction of third generation (3G) mobile phone licences. This astronomical sum wasn't the result of corporate bidders "losing their heads", but a careful strategy designed to maximise proceeds for the Treasury.

    —Huffduffed by ninthart

  6. The History of the Big Bang

    What is the Big Bang, who came up with idea and why do we believe in it? Simon Singh told the story of the Big Bang theory, from its birth in the 1920s to the observational evidence that backed it and then clinched it. As well as discovering the development of the Big Bang theory, Simon also discussed more generally how new scientific ideas are invented, developed and adopted, which included the partnership between theory and experiment and the role of personalities and politics.


    —Huffduffed by ninthart

  7. Simple as Pi

    Episode two of Five Numbers, the BBC radio series presented by Simon Singh.

    Most people's first slice of Pi is at school where it is generally made palatable as either 3.14 or the fraction 3 1/7. The memory of this number may be fuzzy for those propelled through their Maths GCSE by the power of Casio (where Pi was reduced to a button on the bottom row of the calculator), but the likelihood is they still recall that romanticised notion of a number whose decimal places randomly go on forever. At its simplest, Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. At its most complex, it is an irrational number that cannot be expressed as the ratio of two whole numbers and has an apparently random decimal string of infinite length.

    —Huffduffed by ninthart

  8. The Golden Ratio

    Episode three of Five Numbers, the BBC radio series presented by Simon Singh.

    Divide any number in the Fibonacci sequence by the one before it, for example 55/34, or 21/13, and the answer is always close to 1.61803. This is known as the Golden Ratio, and hence Fibonacci's Sequence is also called the Golden Sequence. Unlikely though it might seem, this series of numbers is the common factor linking rabbits, cauliflowers and snails.

    —Huffduffed by ninthart

  9. The Imaginary Number

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

    The imaginary number takes mathematics to another dimension. It was discovered in sixteenth century Italy at a time when being a mathematician was akin to being a modern day rock star, when there was 'nuff respect' to be had from solving a particularly 'wicked' equation. And the wicked equation of the day went like this: "If the square root of 1 is both 1 and -1, then what is the square root of -1?"

    —Huffduffed by ninthart

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