Friday, March 5, 2010

Because you haven't thought enough about math lately.

I've been remiss in not sharing more of my mathematical ponderings.  

Well, this isn't mine, but have a listen to this terrific podcast from BBC Radio 4's In Our Time where Melvyn Bragg discusses Mathematics' Unintended Consequences with some very articulate (and at times humourous) mathematicians.  

They look at the history of mathematics, the distinction between pure and applied math, and how discoveries in pure mathematics that, at the time, seemed without real life application, have turned out to be behind things like electricity (roots of cubic equations) and cryptography (prime numbers), among others. About how the field of statistics emerged from a heavy gambler's need to win at dice. This is a very accessible program, and makes a good case for the funding of pure science which is perennially under pressure in the face of market-ready endeavours.

Prime Numbers Double Pentagon Spiral

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