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6 Degrees of SeparationEpisode three of A Further Five Numbers, the BBC radio series presented by Simon Singh.
Six is often treated as 2x3, but has many characteristics of its own. Six is also the "pivot" of its divisors (1 2 3=6=1x2x3) and also the centre of the first five even numbers: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10. Six seems to have a pivoting action both mathematically and socially. How is it that everyone in the world can be linked through just six social ties? As Simon discovers, the concept of “six degrees of separation” emerged from a huge postal experiment conducted by the social psychologist Stanley Milgram in 1967. Milgram asked volunteers to send a package by mail to one of a hundred people chosen at random. But they could only send mail to people they knew on first name terms.https://huffduffer.com/srushe/15216
https://huffduffer.com/srushe/15216
Tue, 2 Mar 2010 08:23:11 GMTmathematicsfive numbersbook:author=simon singhbbcsix degreessmall worldnetwork theorystanley milgramduncan watts2 — At The DoubleEpisode two of A Further Five Numbers, the BBC radio series presented by Simon Singh.
We all remember the story of the Persian who invented chess and who asked to be paid with 1 grain of rice on the first square, 2 on the second, 4 on the third and so on, doubling all the way to the 64th square. He bankrupted the state!
This doubling is a form of exponential growth, which appears in everything from population growth to financial inflation to the inflation theory that supposedly caused the Big Bang. https://huffduffer.com/srushe/15215
https://huffduffer.com/srushe/15215
Tue, 2 Mar 2010 08:20:08 GMTmathematicsfive numbersbook:author=simon singhbbctwoexponential growthGame TheoryEpisode 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.https://huffduffer.com/srushe/14916
https://huffduffer.com/srushe/14916
Thu, 25 Feb 2010 08:19:35 GMTmathematicsfive numbersbook:author=simon singhbbcgame theoryKepler's ConjectureEpisode 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?https://huffduffer.com/srushe/14915
https://huffduffer.com/srushe/14915
Thu, 25 Feb 2010 08:19:28 GMTmathematicsfive numbersbook:author=simon singhbbckepler's conjectureThe Largest Prime NumberEpisode 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. https://huffduffer.com/srushe/14914
https://huffduffer.com/srushe/14914
Thu, 25 Feb 2010 08:19:21 GMTmathematicsfive numbersbook:author=simon singhbbcprimesThe Number SevenEpisode two of Another Five Numbers, the BBC radio series presented by Simon Singh.
Picture a gambler. Is it George Clooney, tuxedo ruffled after an all-nighter at a Vegas Black Jack table, or your old Aunt Doris putting down her yearly quid-on-the-nose for the Grand National? Recent research would suggest that it's neither. Your inveterate gambler is far more likely to be sporting leather patches at their elbows, an unhealthy appetite for corduroy, and a penchant for M-Series rather than Martinis, shaken or stirred. Some mathematicians are putting their mathematical theory where their mouth is and are betting the shirts, stuffed or otherwise, off their backs.https://huffduffer.com/srushe/14913
https://huffduffer.com/srushe/14913
Thu, 25 Feb 2010 08:19:12 GMTmathematicsfive numbersbook:author=simon singhbbcsevenThe Number FourEpisode 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.https://huffduffer.com/srushe/14912
https://huffduffer.com/srushe/14912
Thu, 25 Feb 2010 08:19:00 GMTmathematicsfive numbersbook:author=simon singhbbcfourInfinityEpisode five of Five Numbers, the BBC radio series presented by Simon Singh.
Given the old maxim about an infinite number of monkeys and typewriters, one can assume that said simian digits will type up the following line from Hamlet an infinite number of times.https://huffduffer.com/srushe/14574
https://huffduffer.com/srushe/14574
Thu, 18 Feb 2010 20:39:30 GMTmathematicsradio:series=five numbersbook:author=simon singhbbcThe Imaginary NumberEpisode 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?"https://huffduffer.com/srushe/14573
https://huffduffer.com/srushe/14573
Thu, 18 Feb 2010 20:39:23 GMTmathematicsfive numbersbook:author=simon singhbbcimaginary numberThe Golden RatioEpisode 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.https://huffduffer.com/srushe/14572
https://huffduffer.com/srushe/14572
Thu, 18 Feb 2010 20:39:14 GMTmathematicsfive numbersbook:author=simon singhbbcgolden ratiofibonacciSimple as PiEpisode 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.https://huffduffer.com/srushe/14530
https://huffduffer.com/srushe/14530
Thu, 18 Feb 2010 00:00:02 GMTmathematicsfive numbersbook:author=simon singhbbcpiA Countdown to ZeroEpisode one of Five Numbers, the BBC radio series presented by Simon Singh.
What's 2 minus 2? The answer is obvious, right? But not if you wore a tunic, no socks and lived in Ancient Greece. For strange as it sounds, 'nothing' had to be invented, and then it took thousands of years to catch on.https://huffduffer.com/srushe/14529
https://huffduffer.com/srushe/14529
Wed, 17 Feb 2010 23:59:48 GMTmathematicsfive numbersbook:author=simon singhbbczero