Monday, 25 March 2013

Paul Erdős- Mathematician Extraordinaire

'If numbers aren't beautiful, I don't know what is.'

Paul Erdős, one of the greatest mathematicians to have graced the world would have completed a 100 years today had he been alive. In stature and number of mathematical papers published, he is comparable only to the legendary Leonhard Euler. Paul Erdős has written 1525 papers in his lifetime! Unlike other mathematicians, all his papers weren't authored by him; most of them were coauthored, he viewed and practiced Math as a social activity, for the betterment of the society.

It is safe to assume that he was a child prodigy, at the age of four, he could calculate, in his head the number of seconds a person had lived, given their age! Born to high school Mathematics teachers, Paul Erdős was always surrounded by beautiful Mathematical stuff. At 16, his father introduced him to Infinite Series and Set Theory, subjects that later went on to become his favorite. In 1934, when he was just 21 years old he was awarded a doctorate in Mathematics.

Paul Erdős had the eccentric personality that most geniuses of this stature are famous for. Worldly possessions meant nothing to him, and most of his rewards and earnings were donated to the needy. Although he was an atheist, he had a strange belief about 'THE BOOK', a book in which GOD (or Supreme Fascist as Paul Erdős referred to him) kept the best and most beautiful Mathematical proofs to himself! He spent most of his life as a wanderer, roaming around in search of the Truth; the Mathematical Truth. He would often show up at a colleague's house without informing them, and say, "My brain is open", indicating that he was ready to write a Mathematical proof along with the colleague. He would spend a week in their house before shifting to another house. Another one of his famous quote referring to this habit of his- 'Another roof, another proof'

Because he had worked with close to 511 people on Mathematical papers, his friends created the Erdős number as a humorous tribute to him. The Erdős number basically describes the closeness of a person to Paul Erdős. So, Erdős had a number 0, his closest collaborators had a number 1. See the list - LIST of people by Erdos Number

Ultimately it can be said, that Paul Erdős was more than what his achievements tell us. He was a genius, no doubt but it was his passion for Mathematics, the quest for the truth that truly defined him. He wanted the make the world a better place by spreading the beauty of Math, and we at Mathemating with Numbers salute this great personality on his 101st birthday.

Another one of his quotes!


Thursday, 14 March 2013

Pi day celebrations!!

  It is irrational, transcendental and highly enigmatic. Yet, we all love it and can't possible imagine our lives without, The oh so adorable Pi! And today all of us Math lovers are celebrating Pi day...

While the origins of Pi have been subject to a lot of speculation, it is thought that Pi was first used actually by the people who built the Great Pyramid at Giza. The reason behind this belief is that these pyramids were built with a perimeter of 1760 cubits and a height of 280 cubits the ratio of which approximates to 6.2857 which is equal to 2 times the value of Pi. However the symbol of Pi which we most commonly use is said to have been first used by mathematician William Jones in 1706. But what is exactly Pi? Pi is the ratio of a circle's circumference and diameter.

Over the years, many people have tried to give their own versions of Pi; using infinite series,continued fractions, polygon approximations and many more unique methods. Check them out:

Besides finding massive use in geometry, calculus and almost every known field to man, Pi has also made appearances in very special Mathematical problems that have actually the changed the way the world thinks about Math- 
Basel problem- This particular problem was solved by Leonhard Euler

The charm of Pi lies in its enigma, its mystery, no one knows where it will end. Because of this annually, people compete to find the most accurate value of Pi and see who can remember most digits of Pi

Here are some other cool Pi facts we think you would like-

1. The first 144 digits of pi add up to 666 (which many scholars say is “the mark of the Beast”). And 144 = (6+6) x (6+6)

2. In the Greek alphabet, π (piwas) is the sixteenth letter. In the English alphabet, p is also the sixteenth letter.

3. Pi Day” is celebrated on March 14 (which was chosen because it resembles 3.14). The official celebration begins at 1:59 p.m., to make an appropriate 3.14159 when combined with the date. Albert Einstein was born on Pi Day (3/14/1879) in Ulm Wurttemberg, Germany.

4. A Web site titled “The Pi-Search Page” finds a person’s birthday and other well known numbers in the digits of pi

5. The Pi memory champion is Hiroyoki Gotu, who memorized an amazing 42,000 digits.

6. Taking the first 6,000,000,000 decimal places of Pi, this is the distribution:
0 occurs 599,963,005 times,
1 occurs 600,033,260 times,
2 occurs 599,999,169 times,
3 occurs 600,000,243 times,
4 occurs 599,957,439 times,
5 occurs 600,017,176 times,
6 occurs 600,016,588 times,
7 occurs 600,009,044 times,
8 occurs 599,987,038 times,
9 occurs 600,017,038 times.

7. Computing pi is a stress test for a computer—a kind of “digital cardiogram.n the Star Trek episode “Wolf in the Fold,” Spock foils the evil computer by commanding it to “compute to last digit the value of pi.

8. The earliest known official or large-scale celebration of Pi Day was organized by Larry Shaw in 1988 at the San Francisco Exploratorium, where Shaw worked as a physicist, with staff and public marching around one of its circular spaces, then consuming fruit pies. The Exploratorium continues to hold Pi Day celebrations.