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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

-1
votes
1answer
21 views

Arc Length and Area of a Sector

A cake has a circumference of $30 \mathrm{cm}$ and a uniform height of $7\mathrm{cm}$. A slice is to be cut from the cake with two straight cuts meeting at the centre. If the slice is to contain ...
13
votes
2answers
237 views

Did Feynman mentally compute $\sqrt[3]{1729.03}$ by linear approximation?

In the biopic ``infinity'' about Feynman. (11:48~15:50) Feynman compute $\sqrt[3]{1729.03}$ by a mental calculation. I guess that he use the linear approximation. That is, he observe that ...
1
vote
1answer
53 views

explanation of topology examples from movie or other [closed]

I always like topology and geometry. But there are some examples in film and videogames that upset me... 1)Imagine an empty room in which there is a door in the middle, and if I open it I can see a ...
0
votes
0answers
39 views

List of Interesting African Mathematics Blogs

Title says it all: looking for info on any Mathematics blogs that are either contributed to by bloggers on the African continent, or have an African continent focus (for example someone living outside ...
2
votes
0answers
51 views

The simplest way to present a Lie algebra to a wide audience?

I would like to get suggestions from you as to the best way to present the idea and contents of Lie algebras to a wide public of people with no detailed background in maths. What wlould you explain to ...
0
votes
2answers
34 views

Reward in a fair game?

Consider a coin toss of a biased coin, where H comes up with probability p I bet 1 dollar that the outcome of the toss will be H, win reward R if it is H, and lose the 1 dollar stake otherwise. What ...
4
votes
4answers
196 views

Prove that $\pi>3$ using geometry

I was asked this question today in an interview. Question: Prove that $\pi>3$ using geometry. They gave me hints about drawing a unit circle and then inscribing an equilateral triangle and then ...
0
votes
2answers
132 views

Expected number of tosses until 3 heads in a row - via Martingale method

(Quant job interviews - questions and answers - Question 3.8) For a fair coin, what is the expected number of tosses to get 3 heads in a row The answer is stated as : We gamble in such a way ...
2
votes
1answer
43 views

Independent coin tosses , double or halve current sum

(Quant job Interviews - Questions and Answers - Joshi et al, Question 3.5) Suppose you have a fair coin. You start with 1 dollar, and if you toss a H your position doubles, if you toss a T your ...
5
votes
2answers
282 views

Determine whether a point lies inside the curve or outside a random curve using pencil and scale

Say, I am given a point and a closed curve. I don't know anything about the curve (where it is, what it is, its size etc.;say it is hidden somewhere)."I just can't see the curve but I can see the ...
27
votes
4answers
2k views

A golden ratio series from a comic book

The eighth installment of the Filipino comic series Kikomachine Komix features a peculiar series for the golden ratio in its cover: That is, $$\phi=\frac{13}{8}+\sum_{n=0}^\infty ...
0
votes
2answers
59 views

'Probability method' - to what extent is it an actual proof?

Consider this: $\frac { C^{2n}_n } {2^{2n}} = \mathbb P (A) $ where A= { equal number of heads and tails in $2n$ throws of a fair coin } therefore the following assertion is true: $\forall n \ge ...
3
votes
1answer
167 views

Monty Hall problem again (from Grimmett and Stirzaker)

Grimmett and Stirzaker Exercise 1.4.5.2 In a game show you have to choose one of three doors. One conceals a car, 2 conceal goats. You choose a door but the door is not opened immediately. Instead ...
8
votes
6answers
541 views

What does $200\%$ faster mean? (How can something be more than $100\%$ faster?)

I'm a simple man living my every day life and have not much understanding of math or science. Today I read an article where someone claimed they can charge a battery $200\%$ faster. This got me ...
0
votes
1answer
157 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
40 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
votes
4answers
210 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
votes
0answers
75 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
votes
2answers
81 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
353 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?
0
votes
2answers
68 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
votes
2answers
179 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 ...
9
votes
0answers
285 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 ...
43
votes
1answer
1k views

Sheldon Cooper Primes

On the $73^{\text{rd}}$ episode of the Big Bang Theory, Dr. Sheldon Cooper, an astrophysicist portrayed by Jim Parsons $(1973 - \stackrel{\text{hopefully}}{2073})$ revealed his favorite number to be ...
2
votes
1answer
48 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.
1
vote
1answer
89 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
votes
0answers
40 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
votes
2answers
136 views

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

The equation in the image shown below (outlined 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 been ...
11
votes
1answer
259 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
votes
2answers
2k 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
5
votes
4answers
9k 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
votes
1answer
396 views

Fourier Transformation: an Animated GIF

Here I found the animated GIF below. I don't get it! Would someone explain it please?
9
votes
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
votes
2answers
512 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 ...
58
votes
8answers
33k 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
votes
2answers
233 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
votes
1answer
161 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
votes
2answers
513 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
239 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 ...
19
votes
2answers
789 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 ...
20
votes
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 ...
16
votes
2answers
10k 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
votes
3answers
738 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
votes
3answers
306 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
votes
3answers
409 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 ...
51
votes
1answer
5k 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
2k 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
votes
1answer
142 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 ...
20
votes
2answers
6k views

“A proof that algebraic topology can never have a non self-contradictory set of abelian groups” - Dr. Sheldon Cooper

In the current episode "The Big Bang Theory", Dr. Sheldon Cooper has a booklet titled "A proof that algebraic topology can never have a non self-contradictory set of abelian groups". I'm still an ...
14
votes
9answers
7k 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. ...