(pronounced Air-Dersh) was the most prolific mathematician of all time. He wrote almost 1500 papers with many others, leading to the creation of the Erdös number
, connecting mathematicians to each other by way of their co-authored papers. Even a horse
has an Erdös number of 3. He also had his own language
- if a person had "left", they had died, but if they had "died", they had stopped doing mathematics.
posted by Orange Goblin
on Nov 18, 2003 -
The colour of numbers -
For the math geeks out there (which I'm not - maybe his theories will be shot down in flames), Karl Palmen has discovered that numbers can be assigned one of eight "colours", related to their prime factors. He goes on to show the interesting mathematical properties of these colours. A novel way of playing with numbers. Software is on offer
posted by Jimbob
on Aug 11, 2003 -
is an environment that generates small, walking computational organisms. "Each walking thing is built up from totally random conditions. Appearance, behavior, and walking characteristics are all assigned from a range enabling effective, functional mobility. Click on a walking thing to permutate its characteristics".
Just one of the very many wonderful (open source
) creations at levitated.net
(more bugs with bling here
). Kick off your shoes, fill your coffee cup or wine glass, and dip in.
posted by taz
on Jul 2, 2003 -
'The Poincare Conjecture' Solved?
"Dr Grigori Perelman, of the Steklov Institute of Mathematics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St Petersburg, claims to have proved the Poincare Conjecture, one of the most famous problems in mathematics. The Poincare Conjecture, an idea about three-dimensional objects, has haunted mathematicians for nearly a century. If it has been solved, the consequences will reverberate throughout geometry and physics."
Also of note is that Perelman's solution is only a benign side effect of his efforts toward defining all three-dimensional surfaces mathematically, which if successful would allow humanity to "produce a catalogue of all possible three-dimensional shapes in the Universe, meaning that [mankind] could ultimately describe the actual shape of the cosmos itself."
posted by eyebeam
on May 8, 2003 -
For Great Justice.
Man appeals to High Court of Australia to apply their jurisdiction to the laws of mathematics. Justice Kirby not amused.
posted by Bletch
on Apr 7, 2003 -
The man who wrote 10,000 Grooks
), Piet Hein, was also the inventor of Hex
and the creator of the Soma Cube
. In the design world, he is most famous for the SuperEllipse
, a figure that rivals Buckminster Fuller's geodesics in ingenuity, an aesthetic balance between a circle and a square, and a mathematical figure
which has been used to design a square in Stockholm.
From the SuperEllipse, you can get the SuperEgg, a strange solid which will unexpectedly balance on one end and has been mistaken for an alien artifact
posted by Winterfell
on Oct 28, 2002 -
has finished his book, "A New Kind of Science
," which purpotedly is being espoused as a paradigm shift in many fields. But, I'm starting to see a very reductionistic attitude in many of the main theorists of complextity theory and emergent phenomena. Is the idea that the Universe is in lines of code a phallus-extension/masculine overdriven idea? Isn't math a man made mapping and can the Universe be reduced to an equation by a man? Still this book is going to be groundbreaking. Read the following exceperpt from the wired.com
q: "I've got to ask you," I say. "How long do you envision this rule of the universe to be?"
w: "I'm guessing it's really very short."
q: "Like how long?"
w: "I don't know. In Mathematica, for example, perhaps three, four lines of code."
link via protofunk.org
, old similar thread
posted by nakedjon
on May 20, 2002 -
Can you stump the Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences?
Every identifiable sequence known to man, including:
Name: Busy Beaver problem: maximal number of steps that an n-state Turing machine can make on an initially blank tape before eventually halting.
Comment: The sequence grows faster than any computable function of n, and so is non-computable.
If your sequence does not appear there, you might want to try the Super Seeker
posted by vacapinta
on Apr 15, 2002 -
NDb -(60% x Nc/Nt +40% x Dc/Dt) x 17,585
"Mathematicians called in by the Metropolitan Police think they have worked out the best way to beat crime in the capital."
Are there any UK mathematician/cops out there that know what the variables actually are?
posted by badstone
on Jan 17, 2002 -
Laws of Form
In 1969, George Spencer-Brown published a mathematical book called Laws of Form
, which has inspired explorations in philosophy, cybernetics, art, spirituality, and computation. The work is powerful and has established a passionate following as well as harsh critics. This web site explores these people, their ideas and history, and provides references for further exploration. I read this then, didn't understand much of the math due to my innumeracy, but was struck by a passage in passing... I especially am curious to see what the numerate in MetaFilter have to say.
posted by y2karl
on Nov 11, 2001 -
What Color is My Hat?
I [heart] these mathematical conundrums -- simple, easy-to-state, seemingly obvious logic problems that have solutions that completely defy common sense. Here's another you can spring on a friend: "You want to fry up three pieces of french toast. You have a frying pan that is just large enough to accomodate two pieces of bread at a time. If it takes you 30 seconds to fry one side of bread, and each piece of must be fried on both sides, how long will it take you to cook up three pieces (assuming that the act of flipping a piece or adding/ removing it to or from the pan takes no time). Think about it. Answer inside.
posted by Shadowkeeper
on May 25, 2001 -
...harnessing the power of Lava Lite® lamps to generate truly random numbers....
That's a bold statement, but who am I to doubt the power of the lava lamp
. The mathematical purist may disagree with the "truely random" part, but this geek speak
convinced me that LavaRand can handle all my random number needs.
posted by bicyclingfool
on Apr 30, 2001 -
Mathematician Bums Out Entire Scientific Community
His "Omega" number--infinite and incalculable--guts hopes for pure mathematics, physicists' hopes for a Theory of Everything, and is just in general kind of bafflingly cool. Builds on the whole Godel/Turing foundation of hopelessness!
posted by Skot
on Mar 15, 2001 -
The passing of a giant.
Claude Shannon has died. He was a man of towering intellect, whose achievements are dwarfed only by the ignorance of the public to the value of those achievements. All our lives have been radically changed by him, but I bet not one person in a hundred has even heard of him.
posted by Steven Den Beste
on Mar 2, 2001 -
The Key Vanishes: Scientist Outlines Unbreakable Code [NEW YORK TIMES - free reg required] In essence, the researcher, Dr. Michael Rabin and his Ph.D. student Yan Zong Bing, have discovered a way to make a code based on a key that vanishes even as it is used. While they are not the first to have thought of such an idea, Dr. Rabin says that never before has anyone been able to make it both workable and to prove mathematically that the code cannot be broken.
Once this gets out, the debate on exporting strong crypto would seem to be essentially over.
posted by mikewas
on Feb 20, 2001 -
Americans suck at math. Mathematician trade deficit ensues...
I only find this article interesting because of a talk with my math teacher recently about how most math teachers these days are foriegners, although she isn't, and not that foriegners are bad. But I'm curious if this a bad problem in today's economy or not? Or if this is a problem? What country is good at math? India and China? That's where most of the Silicon Valley CEO's workers are from these days. Or is that political, financial? I don't know. Do you know?
posted by redleaf
on Feb 7, 2001 -
Another unified theory!
And this time it's not just about physics, but the eternity domain, diallel lines, sunspots, egg resonance, planetary alignment, plant dehydration and the Book of Mormon too.
posted by rodii
on Feb 4, 2001 -
Statistics is cool! (Amazing introduction to the concept of estimation, and error computing.)
posted by rschram
on Oct 24, 2000 -
Mersenne Prime Search
is a distributed computing project much like Seti@home
, except instead of searching for aliens, you're in the running for $100,000 and a place in math history (shouldn't your computer actually be the one that goes into the math history books?).
posted by mathowie
on Jul 7, 2000 -
The Poincaré Conjecture
: If we stretch a rubber band around the surface of an apple, then we can shrink it down to a point by moving it slowly, without tearing it and without allowing it to leave the surface. On the other hand, if we imagine that the same rubber band has somehow been stretched in the appropriate direction around a doughnut, then there is no way of shrinking it to a point without breaking either the rubber band or the doughnut. We say the the surface of the apple is ‘simply connected,’ but that the surface of the doughnut is not. Poincaré, almost a hundred years ago, knew that a two dimensional sphere is essentially characterized by this property of simple connectivity, and asked the corresponding question for the three dimensional sphere (the set of points in four dimensional space at unit distance from the origin). This question turned out be be extraordinarily difficult, and mathematicians have been struggling with it ever since.
...but if you can prove it, [or any of six other 'millenium prize problems
'] the clay mathematics institute
wants to line your pockets with $1M
posted by palegirl
on May 24, 2000 -