Math mania

My diary yesterday was a hit…. so….

here’s another from long ago on dailyKos.  It started a little series.  Maybe it will, here, too.

In other diaries and comments I’ve written, I’ve alluded to the fact that math is beautiful.  That it’s not the boring, stultifying stuff many of us were forced to endure, but rather a kind of artwork, akin more to music and poetry than to accounting or physics.  In this (possible) occasional series, I’ll explore some elementary theorems that are nonetheless, beautiful, interesting, or just cool.

This is an introduction to the series

So, what is this nut talking about now?

Well, what mathematicians do all day is prove theorems.  The most prolific mathametican of the 20th century (Paul Erdos – for a delightful bio of him, see The Man Who Loved Only Numbers) said ‘a mathematician is a tool for turning coffee into theorems’.  

A lot of these theorems are so abstract that only a dozen or two people in the world can understand them.  But many are accessible to people with only HS math.  Those are the ones I want to talk about in this series

Bertrand Russell, a mathematician, philosopher, radical and general smart guy (and one of the few people to actively protest both WW 1 and Vietnam), said  “Math is the only subject in which we never know what we are talking about, or whether what we are saying is true”.  Hmmmm……that doesn’t sound like the math I learned in high school

I welcome thoughts, ideas, or what-have-you.  If anyone would like to write a diary in this series, that’s cool too.  Just ask me.  Or if you want to co-write with me, that’s fine.

The rules:  Any math that is required beyond arithmetic and very elementary algebra will be explained.  Anything much beyond that will be VERY CAREFULLY EXPLAINED.

Anyone can feel free to help me explain, but NO TALKING DOWN TO PEOPLE.  I’ll troll rate anything insulting, but I promise to be generous with the mojo otherwise.

Is the Pony/Pie/Hide rating system too cutsie?

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2 comments

    • plf515 on March 4, 2008 at 3:50 am
      Author

    tips, comments, recommends….

    some of what I did over at big Orange is here

  1. As I have become numerically older, I have become more philosophical about math. After all, what are numbers anyway? Just arbitrary representations that have a meaning that we have assigned to them. The only “necessary” numbers are the ones we feel are important at this point. Points, being numerical are also meaningless, just as the number 60, important to me this year but not as important as 21 once was,,,and what is 60 or 21? My cat will not care…and they could have different names in different worlds….Schema being what they are: 21 may be more relevant than 60 but not for me at this time. So have fun, I hear 2 pieces of pie calling my name, or is it three? or does it matter? And how many calories would that be? Doesn’t it depend on the size of the pie and my metabolism….? Mmmmmm…pie

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