is a website containing short videos (approx. 5-10 min.) about numbers and stuff. Mathematicians and physicists play around with the tools of their trade and explain things in simple, clear language. Learn things you didn't know you were interested in! Find out why 493-7775
is a pretty cool phone number! What's the significance of 42
, anyway? What the heck is a vampire number
? Why does Pac-Man have only 255
Suitable for viewing by everyone from intelligent and curious middle-schoolers to math-impaired adults. Browse their YouTube channel here
posted by BitterOldPunk
on Dec 29, 2012 -
What is the smallest prime?
"It seems that the number two should be the obvious answer, and today it is, but it was not always so. There were times when and mathematicians for whom the numbers one and three were acceptable answers. To find the first prime, we must also know what the first positive integer is. Surprisingly, with the definitions used at various times throughout history, one was often not the first positive integer (some started with two, and a few with three). In this article, we survey the history of the primality of one, from the ancient Greeks to modern times. We will discuss some of the reasons definitions changed, and provide several examples. We will also discuss the last significant mathematicians to list the number one as prime."
posted by escabeche
on Sep 18, 2012 -
- Every working day, we post a number and offer a selection of that number’s properties.
posted by Wolfdog
on Jan 11, 2012 -
"Michel de Montaigne, whose essays transformed Western consciousness and literature, was not capable of solving basic arithmetic problems. And most other people would not be able to do so either, if not for the invention of decimal notation by an unknown mathematician in India 1500 years ago.
" The Greatest Mathematical Discovery?
) a paper written for the US Dept. of Energy makes this assertion based in part on the work of Georges Ifrah. [via
] [more inside]
posted by jessamyn
on Aug 26, 2010 -
On May 13, security advisories published by Debian
revealed that, for over a year, their OpenSSL libraries have had a major flaw in their CSPRNG
, which is used by key generation
functions in many widely-used applications, which caused the "random" numbers produced to be extremely predictable. [lolcat summary] [more inside]
posted by finite
on May 16, 2008 -
The Prime Game
is not really much of a game, but it is
a neat & little-known fact about the decimal representation of prime numbers.
posted by Wolfdog
on Jul 10, 2007 -
Significance of numbers.
Not to be confused with the concept of "significant figures," this page lists the significance of numbers 0 through 1000.
"2 is the only even prime."
"24 is the largest number divisible by all numbers less than its square root."
"3367 is the smallest number which can be written as the difference of 2 cubes in 3 ways." Whoa!
posted by scarabic
on Nov 11, 2005 -
...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 -