That sideways figure eight used as the symbol for infinity (∞) is properly known as a lemniscate.
One of the most famous assassinations in history took place on March 15, 44 BC. Julius Caesar was attacked by a group of Roman senators and stabbed to death. William Shakespeare famously records his last words as, “Et tu, Brute? Then fall Caesar!” (Julius Caesar). Others say his last words were Greek, “Καί σύ, τέκνον.”... Continue Reading →
Death is one thing we can all count on, but we try not to dwell on it. Although it is a certainty for everyone, it always seems to take us by surprise. It shouldn’t, because it is all around us — at an astonishing rate. According to the World Health Organization, 55.3 million of your... Continue Reading →
One of the smallest units of measurement of time is the Planck time (tP). It is the time required for light to travel, in a vacuum, a distance of one Planck length, approximately 5.39 × 10−44 s. To give you an idea of how small this is, in one second there are more Planck times... Continue Reading →
If Airport X has a runway 30, and Airport Y's top-numbered runway is 27, logic suggests that Airport A is the larger airport, right? Actually, the number of the runway has nothing to do with the total number of runways at an airport. Instead, it is a navigation aid for pilots, and while the number... Continue Reading →
If math really isn't your thing, it might not take a lot of convincing for you to believe your math teacher was an agent of evil. If you were forced to identify prime numbers long enough, you might actually come up with some reasonable proof to support that proposition. Belphegor's Prime is the name given... Continue Reading →
Want to remember the value of Pi (3.1415926) in easy way? You can do it by counting each word's letters in "May I have a large container of coffee?"
A prime number is divisible only by one and itself. We learn about them in elementary school and recognize them as 1, 3, 5, 7, 11, etc. As the numbers get larger, the space between primes becomes greater. In January 2016 a mathematician at the University of Central Missouri announced the discovery of the largest... Continue Reading →
A teaspoon of water may not seem like much, but if you take the 167,300,000,000,000,000,000,000 water molecules and lay them out in single file, you will have a very skinny line of water that stretches to 31,368,750,000 miles (50 billion km). For comparison's sake, that's ten times the width of the solar system. For those who... Continue Reading →
If you have a hard time telling the difference between kilometers, meters, and centimeters, you are really going to struggle with nanometers. At one-billionth of a meter, the nanometer is used to measure really small things: A sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick A strand of human DNA is 2.5 nanometers in diameter There... Continue Reading →
Put 23 people in a room and there is a statistical probability of 50% that two of them have the same birthday. Increase the number of people to 75, and the odds are 99.9% two of them will celebrate their birth on the same date. Not convinced? See the math here.
When it comes to death, the only real certainty is that we all will face it eventually. As to the manner in which you are likely to leave this world, well, statisticians have chimed in on the likelihood of meeting the following types of death: Shark Attack -- One chance in 300,000,000 -- About 5... Continue Reading →
No doubt you received many wishes for a happy new year as the calendar started over once again. Have you stopped to consider the likelihood that you will still be here to receive another batch of New Year's greetings twelve months from now? Statisticians have calculated the odds of dying during the next 365 days,... Continue Reading →
Photo credit: By Alan Cleaver (Flickr: Shuffling the deck) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons In a deck of 52 cards, there are 80,658,175,170,943,878,571,660,636,856,403,766, 975,289,505,440,883,277,824,000,000,000,000 possible combinations. To give you an idea of how many that is, here is how long it would take to go through every possible permutation of cards. If every star... Continue Reading →