By C. Pickover
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Extra info for A Passion for Mathematics
Animal math. Can animals count? ) He created just one world, instead of many, because the one world would be infinite in every part. His first publications were theological studies against atheism and skepticism. Mersenne was fascinated by prime numbers (numbers like 7 that were divisible only by themselves and 1), and he tried to find a formula that he could use to find all primes. Although he did not find such a formula, his work on “Mersenne numbers” of the form 2p – 1, where p is a prime number, continues to interest us today.
I love collecting math papers with strange titles. These papers are published in serious math journals. For example, in 1992, A. Granville published an article with the strange title “Zaphod Beeblebrox’s Brain and the Fifty-Ninth Row of Pascal’s Triangle,” in the prestigious The American Mathematical Monthly (vol. 99, no. 4 [April]: 318–31). A calculating prodigy and 365,365,365,365,365,365. When he was ten years old, the calculating prodigy Truman Henry Safford (1836–1901) of Royalton, Vermont, was once asked to square, in his head, the number 365,365,365,365,365,365.
What is the largest number ever used in the lyrics to a popular song? ) The magnificent Erdös. It is commonly agreed that Paul Erdös is the second-most prolific mathematician of all times, being surpassed only by Leonhard Euler, the great eighteenth-century mathematician whose name is spoken with awe in mathematical circles. In addition to Erdös’s roughly 1,500 published papers, many are yet to be published after his death. Erdös was still publishing a paper a week in his seventies. Erdös undoubtedly had the greatest number of coauthors (around 500) among mathematicians of all times.