Question on bits and pieces of mathematics that show up in popular media (TV, movies, comics, etc.)

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1answer
120 views

Latest episode of the big bang theory, vanity card.

I usually don't read these, but this time I did, and this was the card: Does the last mathematical symbols have any meaning? I get that the equal 150.6+V, is there any more meaning behind this?
1
vote
1answer
29 views

Subpopulations of an island (Bayes theorem?)

Help appreciated here. An island with 2 regions, I and II, has 4 types of individuals: AX, AY, BX and BY, for which we know their exact total nos. Here A-B-X-Y are simply traits, e.g., A=Male, ...
3
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4answers
125 views

What books should a high school calculus student read to learn more about truly beautiful mathematics? [closed]

I love mathematics! Unfortunately, I don't know as much about it as I would like to. I honestly spend a large portion of my free time reading further in my Calculus textbook, and it's very ...
0
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0answers
57 views

What probability analysis did the allies use during WWII after they cracked the Enigma, or how can this probability be quantified?

In the recent film, The Imitation Game, after cracking the Enigma they mentioned that the allies didn't simply use every cracked message but instead analysed the probability the Germans would find out ...
0
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2answers
62 views

Is it incorrect to use the phrase “X percent probability?”

Very frequently, phrases like "50 percent probability" are used in science papers and popular writing. Is this phrase generally viewed to be correct by the mathematical community. Formally a ...
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2answers
139 views

Does ABC implies Fermat's last theorem?

I read from the newspaper that Mochizuki's proof of the ABC conjecture implies the Fermat's last theorem. Is it true? I think it implies the proof only for large enough exponents?
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2answers
45 views

Evaluate a function along a complex curve

Well, I don't know this question is appropriate but I really need to understand it. So, please help me. In the book Love and Math, The heart of hidden reality of Edward Frenkel, chapter 15, he said ...
2
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2answers
142 views

What are some things that mathematics students know, but others don't

Someone asked it on Quora and I answered to my best. What other things I can add to it, as it is well received there and carries nice information to non-mathematics people. Here is my answer ...
8
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0answers
146 views

A question on popularization of math: inspiring the beauty of mathematics while making New Year's wishes

Many fellow students of mine today shared by various means the following picture: . I was told that this picture is supposed to communicate the beauty of math in a funny way, but I really can't ...
2
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1answer
43 views

A Very Elementary Article or Webpage about Secret Sharing

I'm looking for an article or webpage about secret sharing with Latin squares, accessible to middle school students. I searched but found none. Can you help me? Thanks.
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1answer
49 views

Can these phenomena occur within Non-Euclidean geometries?

I've enrolled in an undergraduate seminar on the subject of non-euclidean geometry. I wanted to ground myself a little before-hand, because popular media has lead me to believe that non-euclidean ...
0
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0answers
37 views

'Popular mathematics' resource about infinite ordinals

The 'popular mathematics' literature (think Martin Gardner, William Dunham, Hofstadter, and the like) abounds with material on the mathematics of infinite cardinals, starting - and quite often ending ...
2
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2answers
108 views

What is the meaning of this (potentially humorous) mathematical equation?

The equation in the image shown below (highlighted in blue) was found on the cover of a magazine, along with several other "math equation jokes" like the "I heart pi" joke. My friends and I haven't ...
7
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0answers
171 views

Mathematics of the Ice Bucket Challenge

I've been considering the mathematics of the now global ice bucket challenge. Simple model In the simplest incarnation, there is one original seed, who then nominates 3 others, each of which take ...
3
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2answers
542 views

Is the Nash Equilibrium example in a “Beautiful Mind” accurate?

I was wondering if the Nash Equilibrium example shown in the movie A Beautiful Mind is accurate? and if not, what's wrong with it? Thanks
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2answers
3k views

What is fleventy five?

In an episode of "Silicon Valley", one of the characters goes on a rant about how smart he is and cut his teeth on 'hex tables', and he says, "ask me what F times 9 is. It's fleventy-five!" This is ...
3
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1answer
162 views

Fourier Transformation: an Animated GIF

Here I found the animated GIF below. I don't get it! Would someone explain it please?
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9answers
1k views

A Poster About Prime Numbers [closed]

We're going to design a poster about prime numbers, which will appear in a mathematics magazine for middle school students. The poster should be both visually attractive and mathematically rich. Do ...
0
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2answers
386 views

Google Code Jam's Cookie Clicker Program…

Today, the Google Code Jam's cookie clicker problem was something like this. Problem In this problem, you start with 0 cookies. You gain cookies at a rate of 2 cookies per second, by ...
51
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8answers
30k views

Probability that random moves in the game 2048 will win

I have recently played the game 2048, created by Gabriele Cirulli, which is fun. I suggest trying if you have not. But my brother posed this question to me about the game: If he were to write a ...
6
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2answers
167 views

Weird Al Yankovic's Partial Differential Equation

In Weird Al Yankovic's music video "White and Nerdy" (1:20-1:36), there are flashes of a partial differential equation: $$\left(-\frac{h^2}{2\mu}\nabla^2 - \frac{e^2}{r}\right)\psi(r)=E\psi(r)$$ ...
2
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1answer
124 views

Math in TV: What episode of law & order is “the eigenvalue is off” from?

I'm trying to compile some clips of math in popular culture to save for various math talks I give. I know that in some episode of law and order, detective Max Greevey (he is only in season 1 I ...
5
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2answers
329 views

Is this really a formula of number theory? (Number theory in “Beyond: two souls”)

While watching a video of someone playing the video game Beyond: two souls, I saw the next formula $$N_k=\frac{1}{k}\sum_{d|k}\mu(d)n^{k/d}\text{,}$$ which clearly is a reference to number theory ...
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2answers
235 views

A problem for math lovers to count the digits

Today a classmate of mine asked a question which is based on counting. Question. Find a positive integer which when multiplied up to $6$ times will give numbers having the same digits but rearranged ...
18
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1answer
636 views

“Bad” Mathematics in Movies

There's a website and a companion book to it about bad physics in movies, called "Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics". Similar issues may exist about mathematics: What are the differences between ...
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3answers
1k views

A problem V.I. Arnold solved as a primary school student

According to a 1995 interview that Vladimir I. Arnold gave to the Notices of the AMS, his primary school teacher I.V. Morozkin gave in 1949 (when Arnold was 12 years old) to a Soviet classroom, most ...
11
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2answers
5k views

What is the best strategy for Cookie-Clicker-esque games?

Today, I stumbled across the game Cookie Clicker, which I recommend you avoid until you have at least a few hours of time to waste. The basic idea behind the game is this: You have a large stash of ...
8
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3answers
555 views

Is there something to the “let $\varepsilon < 0$” joke that I'm missing?

Sorry if this is the wrong place to ask this, but I feel it's a question of vital importance to the future of math education. I hear this listed as a "math joke" all the time and I've never got it. ...
12
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3answers
284 views

New mathematical results in fiction work

On the surreal numbers page on Wikipedia it says: They were introduced in Donald Knuth's 1974 book Surreal Numbers: How Two Ex-Students Turned on to Pure Mathematics and Found Total Happiness. ...
5
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3answers
342 views

Statistics Workshop for High School Students

We are going to hold an introductory workshop about the statistics. The participants will be students who have just finished their 8th or 9th grade. The workshop consists of 10 two-hour sessions. The ...
47
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1answer
3k views

What is the solution to Nash's problem presented in “A Beautiful Mind”?

I was watching the said movie the other night, and I started thinking about the equation posed by Nash in the movie. More specifically, the one he said would take some students a lifetime to solve ...
14
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3answers
1k views

Explaining what real math is to a high school student

I think, after reading through some of the questions here and their answers, that there are many people here who share my opinion on high school mathematics that it's quite different from "real ...
3
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1answer
137 views

Monty Hall Application

Driver A comes to a 3 way path junction but is not sure which one to take. Just as he decides to take path 1, a cyclist came by and told driver A all he knows is that he is going on path 3 which would ...
14
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9answers
5k views

How Can One Prove $\cos(\pi/7) + \cos(3 \pi/7) + \cos(5 \pi/7) = 1/2$

Reference: http://xkcd.com/1047/ We tried various different trigonometric identities. Still no luck. Geometric interpretation would be also welcome. EDIT: Very good answers, I'm clearly impressed. ...
12
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3answers
1k views

Motivation for Tom Lehrer's song “Lobachevsky”?

I am trying to understand the motivation for the jingle about plagiarism written by Tom Lehrer. A YouTube version can be found here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IL4vWJbwmqM . Where does history ...
7
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0answers
724 views

The maths in “The Amazing Spider Man”

I just saw the trailer for the new Spider Man movie and couldn't help but notice the image after the guy says "How did you come up with this". So here is a transcript (the last part can't be seen): ...
26
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17answers
2k views

Mathematical toys?

Anybody know of "serious" mathematical ornaments or toys like the Gömböc, etc? Already have a rubix and abacus (that's more of a tool though).
29
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19answers
2k views

Mathematics understood through poems? [closed]

Along with Diophantus mathematics has been represented in form of poems often times. Bhaskara II composes in Lilavati: Whilst making love a necklace broke. A row of pearls mislaid. One sixth fell to ...
39
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10answers
4k views

The Monty Hall problem

I was watching the movie 21 yesterday, and in the first 15 minutes or so the main character is in a classroom, being asked a "trick" question (in the sense that the teacher believes that he'll get the ...
5
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2answers
741 views

What is the relationship between the Poisson Distribution and the Monte Carlo Fallacy?

Gravity's Rainbow has this long passage about the Poisson distribution. Since Pynchon's education included a serious dose of mathematics, and his novels include many references to mathematics, I ...
7
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1answer
528 views

What interview of G. H. Hardy by P. Erdős does Wikipedia refer to?

Quoting from the Wikipedia article on G. H. Hardy (emphasis mine): Starting in 1914, he was the mentor of the Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, a relationship that has become ...
7
votes
1answer
741 views

A divergent series from Futurama

I was watching Futurama and in a recent episode, the professor creates a duplication machine. The machine basically took something and then made 2 copies at 60% the size. Somehow Bender got caught ...
6
votes
5answers
460 views

Mathematician (non-logician) seeks reference for Gödel's incompleteness theorems

I would like to learn more about the proofs of Gödel's incompleteness theorems. I have read and am rereading Gödel's proof by Nagel, Newman, and Hofstadter. I like it very much, but I would like ...
8
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1answer
419 views

Numb3rs Challenge

I am by no means a mathmatician. I guess you could say that I am a mathematically inclined individual, but never made anything of it until I was in my 30's and became a software engineer. Although ...
33
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3answers
4k views

What is this mathematical equation from Fringe?

The following mathematical equation was shown during the television show Fringe which aired on Friday, April 22nd. Any idea what it is? (edit by J.M.: for reference, this was Sam Weiss scribbling ...
15
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2answers
582 views

Name of the math movie

Does anyone remember a movie about four mathematicians studying infinity, who ended up committing a suicide? It was aired online somewhere, and I can't find it (it's a documentary, if that helps).
7
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3answers
1k views

Do the equations used in Stargate make sense or are they gibberish?

Just wondering if equations used as props in SG1, atlantis and most recently Universe are just random and cool looking, or real/meaningful and cool looking. Most recent episode of Stargate Universe ...