Posts Tagged With: Number Theory

Joining the Math Club

Can you find the cat in the junk pile?

Can you find the cat?

Today I visited my college’s math club for the first time. We met in a room in the mathematics department–all six of us. Out of about 11,000 students enrolled for college credit, the math club consisted of 3 professors and 2 other students. It is my understanding, however, that there are more than 5 members–they just didn’t all show up today for one reason or another.

It wasn’t exactly what I had anticipated. To be fair, I’ve never been part of an academic club, so I probably shouldn’t’ve’d (should not have had) preconceptions. For some reason, I expected the math club meeting to be a more challenging and more participatory version of a math lecture. It wasn’t. We watched the last part of a documentary on the Riemann Hypothesis (apparently they had watched the first part in last week’s meeting) after which they bandied about esoteric words like “topology” and tried to find a well-hidden cat in a photo of a massive junk pile, because, well you know–mathematicians are blind people in a dark room looking for a black cat which isn’t there.

I did find the experience interesting. I think I will officially join the club and begin attending it as regularly as I can. It’s an opportunity to network with like-minded people, and it’ll expand my horizons when it comes to number theory.

Categories: College Life, Math | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

For the love of math, man!

2013-08-21_2214This evening I went to my trigonometry orientation. Man, was I in for a rude awakening. About a dozen students were gathered outside of the lecture hall, waiting for the professor to finish her pre-algebra orientation. It all started innocently enough. One of the students mentioned that this was her second go at the trig course. Wow, she must really love trigonometry, I thought. Then another student said the same thing, head hanging in shame. Wait a minute… they failed the course on their first try, I realized. Then the conversation drifted to the horrifying as the students professed their mutual hatred for all things cosine and for math in general. Such blasphemy! I wanted to cover my ears and go, “lah-la-lah-la” and pretend I never heard a thing.

I love math. If I could, I would have sex with it and then cuddle with it. When I start a math course, my heart starts fluttering. Not with nervousness, mind you, but with a feeling of pure lust. When I’m at a party, I can’t wait to get home and do the nasty with sines and cosines. I even profess my love for math on my clothing. One of my favorite t-shirts has a symbol of pi and i. Pi is saying “Get real” and i is saying “Be rational”.  I love that shirt. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside when I wear it in public.

I haven’t always loved math. When I was in Amish grade school, I was at the top of my class. In other words, I was mediocre and sometimes left with B’s. My teachers simply refused to show me math in its real naked glory. As a result, I found math rather boring. But then, wait for it… I saw it… or felt it, rather. My inner mathesexuality.

It happened when I developed an affinity for layman-oriented books on number theory. When I learned that there is no easy way to determine if a number is prime (other than dividing it by every smaller natural number), I was skeptical. I mean, seriously… that makes no sense. The structure of the number line–the distribution of primes–it’s such a straightforward thing, how could there not be a simple formula for determining whether a number is prime? I played around with it, and the hours stretched into days as I tried to figure it out and develop the magical formula. I never did find it, but my fascination with the distribution of prime numbers remains erect… I mean unabated.

Then I learned about e. It had been sitting there on the number line all this time. The utter amazingness of e is so profound that I can’t even find the words for it. And then there it was… something even holier…

e^{i \pi} + 1 = 0

Somebody is making this shit up, right? I mean that’s just too damn convenient. I still haven’t the foggiest clue what it means, but its utter beauty gives me a intellectual erection the likes of which I’ve never experienced in all my life of lusting after equations. It was love at first sight. I’m not a religious person (anymore), but that simple little equation is the closest I’ve ever come to a religious epiphany.

The only math I’m not good at is combinatorics. When it comes to calculating probabilities, I can’t make heads or tails out of coin flips. Well, actually, that part is easy. It’s the permutations and combinations that get me. It’s like math on PMS–about all I can do is tiptoe around it. Double counting fallacy? I will count my apples as often as I damn well please, thank you very much! One of these days I will take a discrete math course. That’ll teach me!

Anyway, I think I hear trig puzzles calling me. Maybe I should return to my homework. I hope this has helped you understand how much I love math. I have just screamed it from the rooftops. One last thought… I like my math how I like my women–abstract and well-defined. Hmm, yeah, I can see that becoming a nerd meme…

Happy mathing!

P.S. That thing I said about liking my women abstract… I think I may have tangled that simile a bit. I actually have a real life fiancee. She is real (not abstract), well-defined, gorgeous, and I love her second only to math.

Image Credit: Get the shirt here

Categories: Math | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

Create a free website or blog at

Sean Carroll

in truth, only atoms and the void

The Intrepid Mathematician

Reading, writing and arithmetic.

The Life of an Ex-Amish Girl

My thoughts and feelings

What's new

Updates on my research and expository papers, discussion of open problems, and other maths-related topics. By Terence Tao

Grownass Math

Bringing some fucking style to the math game.

elkemental Force

Energy, Software, and Anything in between.

a political idealist.

Lidia. 21. A college student with a blog dedicated to the thoughts and ramblings of the mind.

Many Worlds Theory

In one universe, this blog is about quantum mechanics. In another universe, it is not.

The Cheerful Chemist

Fascinating molecules and new developments in chemistry

Math with Bad Drawings

Lover of math. Bad at drawing.


Someone hire me. Please.

The Lazy College Student's Survival Guide

As a self-identified lazy college student with a High GPA. I will share my secrets to having an effective college education while not losing much sleep or life. Let's Go


Experience the joys of university life with me!

Why? Because Science.

Combating Stupidity Since 2012

My Digital Destiny

From carbon to silicon...