Great Literature Is Surprisingly Arithmetic. A good book evokes a variety of emotions as you read.
Turns out, though, that almost all novels and plays provide one of only six “emotional experiences” from beginning to end—a rags-to-riches exuberance, say, or a rise and fall of hope (below, top). Researchers at the University of Vermont graphed the happiness and sadness of words that occurred across the pages of more than 1,300 fiction works to reveal the emotional arcs and discovered relatively few variations.
A different study coordinated by Poland's Institute of Nuclear Physics found that sentence lengths in books frequently form a fractal pattern—a set of objects that repeat on a small and large scale, the way small, triangular leaflets make up larger, triangular leaves that make up a larger, triangular palm frond (below, bottom). Why analyze the mathematics of literature? Vermont applied mathematician Andrew J. MathSite: An Interactive Source for Seeing, Hearing, Doing Mathematics. Famed number π found hidden in the hydrogen atom.
Three hundred and sixty years ago, British mathematician John Wallis ground out an unusual formula for π, the famed number that never ends.
Now, oddly, a pair of physicists has found that the same formula emerges from a routine calculation in the physics of the hydrogen atom—the simplest atom there is. But before you go looking for a cosmic connection or buy any crystals, relax: There is probably no deep meaning to the slice of π from the quantum calculation. Defined as the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, π is one of the weirder numbers going. Its decimal representation, 3.14159265358979 …, never ends and never repeats. And π can be captured in many disparate formulas. Deriving that formula didn't come easy for Wallis, says Tamar Friedmann, a mathematician and physicist at the University of Rochester (U of R) in New York. 12 Mind Blowing Number Systems From Other Languages. Today is a big day for lovers of the number 12, and no one loves 12s more than the members of the Dozenal Society.
The Dozenal Society advocates for ditching the base-10 system we use for counting in favor of a base-12 system. Because 12 is cleanly divisible by more factors than 10 is (1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 12 vs. 1, 2, 5 and 10), such a system would neaten up our mathematical lives in various ways. But a dozenal system would require us to change our number words so that, for example, what we know as 20 would mean 24 (2x12), 30 would mean 36, and so on.
Does that blow your mind a little too much? Well there are all sorts of weird things that languages can do with number words. 1. Photo Courtesy of Austronesian Counting The Oksapmin people of New Guinea have a base-27 counting system. 2. Tzotzil, a Mayan language spoken in Mexico, has a vigesimal, or base-20, counting system. 3. 4. 5. 6. Ndom, another language of Papua New Guinea, has a base-6, or senary number system. 7. 8. 9. 10. How To Slice A Bagel Along A Mobius Strip — And Why. In the weeks before Doug Sohn closed down his legendary Chicago sausage joint Hot Doug’s, people were literally walking in the door and offering him a million dollars to stay open.
This week on The Sporkful podcast, we’re featuring part one of our live show at the Taste of Chicago. I talk to Doug about why he walked away from all that money, and one of the top chefs in the world reveals his favorite candy bar. As part of our live show I also interviewed mathematician Eugenia Cheng, author of How To Bake Pi: An Edible Exploration of the Mathematics of Mathematics, who sliced a bagel along a Mobius strip live on stage. (The audio of her interview will be in our Live from Chicago Part Two podcast next week.) A Mobius strip, as you probably forgot, is a surface with only one side. If you were to start drawing a line down the middle of the strip and just keep going, you’d cover all the paper and end up right back where you started, without ever flipping it over. Now ready to get crazy? Doing the Math (Updated)
I finally finished part 2! Here is a magnet link so you can dowload it via torrent. Here it is on YouTube: You can tell I worked on it for a long time over many interruptions (travelling and other stuff), because in order to keep myself from hating what was supposed to be a quick easy part 2, I had to amuse myself with snakes. Part of working on part 2 was working on part 3 and other related material, so the next one should go faster. Here was part 1, via Torrent or YouTube. Steven Strogatz on the Elements of Math - Series.