A blog and website by Peter Bengtsson
22 April 2013
I just finished a wondeful book, The Poincare Conjecture: In Search of the Shape of the Universe by Donal O'Shea, and because I'm not very good at writing I'm just going to quote a good chunk:
Mathematics reminds us how much we depend on one another, both on the insight and imagination of those who have lived before us, and on those who comprise the social and cultural institutions, schools and universities, that give children an education that allows them to fully engage the ideas of their times. It is up to all of us to ensure that the legacy of our times is a society that stewards and develops our common mathematical inheritance. For mathematics is one of the quintessentially human activities that makes us more fully human and, in so doing, leads us to transcend ourselves.
Looking up at the night sky, at the distant stars and galaxies and clusters of galaxies, it is inconceivable to me that there are not other intelligences out there, some far different then us. Hundreds of years hence, if we ever develop technologies that enable us to meet and to communicate, we will discover that they will know, or want to lknow, that the only compact three-dimensional manifold in which every loop can be shrunk to a point is a three-sphere. Count on it.
There were lots of mathematical concepts in this book that I didn't understand, but these two paragraphs I surely understood.
20 August 2004
A lot of people say they're really bad in mathematics and number theory and I believe them, but after having read this article about a tribe in the Amazon I realise that the people I hear saying this are wrong.
These Amazonian people don't even have the notion of numbers.
"The word he [Gordon] translates as
one means just a relatively small amount, the word for
two means a relatively bigger amount," he said in an interview from Brazil.
And more interesting facts about the Piraha people:
"the Piraha are the only people known to have no distinct words for colours.
They have no written language, and no collective memory going back more than two generations. They don't sleep for more than two hours at a time during the night or day."
22 July 2004
Yesterday when I came back from my holiday in Crete I finally got my results from the last exams. I got a first with slightly less than 80% average on the last year. Should be happy now but I ain't. I studied hard during the last couple of weeks and I understood it should pay off.
Award Bachelor of Science Honours in Mathematical Science with Computer Science
Classification Class One
11 June 2004
SquareOneTV is some sort of kids tv show from the 80's that aimed to entertain and teach kids about math. I never watched it as a kid because it was probably never aired in Sweden. Shame.
The funniest thing on their website got to be the video clips. Be sure not to miss the "One Billion is Big" by "The Fat Boys". Really made me laugh.
31 May 2004
Many many years ago our math teacher at school left us with a little quiz to think over until the next class. We mustn't use a calculator and back then MS Excel didn't even exist. He told the quiz as a story about the famous German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss.
When Carl went to school their math teacher gave the students a numerical task to solve and he who could calculate the answer the quickest would receive an apple as a price. The task was to sum up all the numbers from 1 to 100. So you start with 1, then 2 and the sum is so far 3. Next you add 3 so the sum is now 6 and so on. All the pupils started calculating really hard but Carl raised his hand and answer the correct sum without even writing anything down. The teacher of course asked if Carl had cheated or otherwise how he did it.
So what is the sum and how did Carl managed to calculate it so quickly? You won't need any formulas or any other advanced mathematics to work it out. If you want to use a computer, feel free but do you really have to?
23 May 2004
Last Wednesday the 19th of May I finished my university degree with my final exam. It's been very stressful and I've studied hard the last couple of weeks despite the wonderfully tempting weather.
Three years of Mathematical Science with Computer Science at City University. Right now I feel a bit bored with the whole thing because it's been on my mind day and night for the past two weeks so I can't be asked to write anything lengthy on it. I doubt that I will miss it a lot. I've got a really good job which allows for much freedom so I do not fear getting stuck behind a desk from 9 to 5 every day.
On Monday morning I start work again. The company is still Fry-IT working as a web developer/programmer. It will be primarily to program Python server side code for the Zope web application server with email, SMS and relational databases.