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.