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Relatively prime – Stories from the Mathematical Domain

Samuel Hansen has come up with the great proposal of making an 8 part podcast called Relatively prime which he describes as

Relatively Prime will be an 8 episode audio podcast featuring stories from the world of mathematics. Tackling questions like: is it true that you are only 7 seven handshakes from the President, what exactly is a micromort, and how did 39 people commenting on a blog manage to prove a deep theorem. Relatively Prime will feature interviews with leaders of mathematics, as well as the unsung foot soldiers that push the mathematical machine forward. With each episode structured around topics such as: The Shape of Things, Risk, and Calculus Wars, Relatively Prime will illuminate each area by delving into the history, applications, and people that underlie the subject that is the foundation of all science.

Continue reading →

Posted by Kristian in Other, 5 comments

Monday link ramblings

Like I have done once before, here are a few chosen links I have stumbled upon over the last few weeks. The only requirement for the links is that I found them interesting and they relate to math or science somewhat. Continue reading →

Posted by Kristian in Other, 5 comments
Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics

Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics

I have just finished reading Prime Obsession by John Derbyshire. A casual math book  which I will pass my thoughts and recommendations about this book in this post.


Prime Obsession is a book about the history surrounding Bernhard Riemann and the Riemann Hypothesis. A hypothesis, which is more than 150 years, and still haven’t been neither proved nor falsified. The Riemann Hypothesis tells us a lot about the Riemann zeta function and how it is linked to the distribution of  primes. This link is the turning point for the whole book.

When I first encountered the book I did not like the writing style of John Derbyshire to be honest. It was in a very conversational tone. But as I progressed through the book I partly forgot about the writing style. More importantly; the content was so great that the writing style for unimportant to me.

The book covers two aspects of the Riemann hypothesis. The even chapters (oh, the author is a mathematician after all – so why not) gives the reader a historical account about European mathematics. They cover many things from a few generations before Riemann all the way to today. I loved these chapters which introduced me to a lot of the persons naming the famous theorems that we are using today such as Gauss, Euler and of course Riemann himself.

The remaining chapters (the odd ones) covers a wide range of mathematical topics. The culmination is the explanation of the Riemann hypothesis and how the non trivial zeros of the zeta function links to the distribution of the primes. Most of the chapters were written in what I would consider being an accessible way which gives a fine introduction to the mathematical topics. It is by no means a textbook that will give you the deeper understanding of the subjects it touches, but it gives you an introduction and tells you what the idea of the subject is.

The only part I didn’t grasp was a chapter on field theory, I thought it lacked something. However, it wasn’t that essential for the main result I think. The main result was a bit complicated to understand as well, but reading the last two odd chapters again helped a lot. I wont say I understand the Riemann hypothesis in the mathematical sense, but I have a conceptual idea of what it does. So this book delivered exactly what it promised to do. Besides that it also inspired me to continue the wonderful journey through mathematics.

If you haven’t read it yet, this is an obvious choice for an item on the wish list.

Posted by Kristian in Other, 2 comments

Google +1 and Facebook like button now on MathBlog

Google +1 buttonTwo days ago Google introduced the +1 button. In an attempt to be up up to date with the hottest of the hot on the social scene of the internet, I decided to add a Google +1 button.

I know… I will never be up and trendy with the hottest new things. I am way to oblivious about the real world to even come close. But once in a while I can at least make a decent attempt. Can’t I?

Actually I wanted to make some changes for the blog for a while. Most of the changes wont be visible for you, but one is. I added a few buttons to the bottom of every post such as a Facebook and Google +1 button.

I know it feels like begging, but I will still ask you. That if you like what you read, please consider marking it either comment on the post, mark it with the google button or on of the other means. It helps spread the word of the blog and let me reach more people. That is partly what motivates me.

Adding the Google +1 button on your site

If you ended up here in the search on how to add a +1 button on your own website.  Just follow the link to googles pages, it has easy description for how to do it.

Yoast has a pretty exhaustive article on how to add the +1 button to Google analytics so you can even track the development in +1’s.

That’s all for now. Just wanted to mention that I updated a few options on the website. And now to something completely different.

Posted by Kristian in Other, 1 comment

Math Jokes

There are jokes about everything out there and science is no exceptions. Often it is fairly easy to make jokes about mathematicians. I got a few sent from a friend, and decided to compile a few of my favourites in a post for you.

A few qoutes

Mathematics is the art of giving the same name to different things. — J. H. Poincare

Mathematicians are like Frenchmen: whatever you say to them, they translate it into their own language, and forthwith it means something entirely different. — Goethe

Medicine makes people ill, mathematics make them sad and theology makes them sinful. — Martin Luther Continue reading →

Posted by Kristian in Other, 0 comments

History of Numbers: The story of 1

I have found a 1 hour video on the history of the numbers. The video is created by the ex-Monty Python member Terry Jones and was created for the BBC in 2005. I think it is a very humoruos way to introduce some mathematical history, even though I can’t verify the correctness of the history.

It has been aired on television in many countries but I haven’t been able to find it on the web right now.

It gives me something to think about. Even though it seems simple to figure out the number 0, and even though much of the basic mathematics today seems simple, it has been incredibly difficult to invent. One examples is the numbers, we take them for granted today, but seeing in the video how difficult it was to invent a system without limitations to the size of the number you want to write says a lot about how far we have come in mathematics today.

Story of 1The video is available through sources like amazon as well, but only region 1, which means if you are a non us-citizen you may have problems viewing it. The image on the left is linked directly to the Amazon page where you can purchase it and let me earn commission.

On last thing I would like to mention is that several people, especially math teachers on the internet praises the video as being a good tool, so if you are in school maybe give your teacher a hint for something fun to watch and be inspired by.

Enjoy

Posted by Kristian in Other, 0 comments