Curious Facts about Mathematics

Today, we will share with you interesting and unusual facts from the world of this serious science. There is room for the frivolous or simply fascinating in any exact science. The main thing is the desire to find it… You can do it here:

(1) The English mathematician Abraham de Moivre once discovered, at an advanced age, that his sleeping time was increasing by 15 minutes a day. Drawing up an arithmetic progression, he determined the date when it would reach 24 hours – November 27, 1754. On that day he died.

2. Religious Jews try to avoid Christian symbolism and cross-like signs in general. For example, students in some Israeli schools write a sign that repeats the inverted letter “t” instead of the “plus” sign.

3. The authenticity of the euro bill can be checked by its serial number of the letter and eleven digits. You need to replace the letter with its serial number in the English alphabet, add this number to the rest, then add the digits of the result until you get one digit.

If this number is 8, then the bill is genuine. Another way to check is to add digits in a similar way, but without the letter. The result of one letter and digit must correspond to a certain country, as the euro is printed in different countries. For example, for Germany it is X2.

4. The word “algebra” sounds the same in all the languages of the world which is confirmed here: It is of Arabic origin, and was introduced by the great Central Asian mathematician of the late 8th and early 9th century, Mahammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi. His mathematical treatise was called “aljebr wal mukabala,” from which the international name of the science, algebra, came.

5. There is an opinion that Alfred Nobel did not include mathematics in the list of disciplines of his prize because his wife cheated on him with a mathematician. In fact, Nobel was never married. The real reason for Nobel’s neglect of mathematics is unknown, but there are several speculations. One is that at that time there was already a prize for mathematics from the Swedish king. Another is that mathematicians do not make important inventions for mankind because this science is purely theoretical.

6. The Rhelo triangle is a geometric figure formed by the intersection of three equal circles of radius a with centers at the vertices of an equilateral triangle with side a. A drill made on the basis of the Rhelo triangle allows drilling square holes (with an inaccuracy of 2%).

7. In Russian mathematical literature zero is not a natural number, while in Western mathematical literature, on the contrary, it belongs to the set of natural numbers.

8. The American mathematician George Danzig, as a graduate student at a university, was late for class one day and mistook the equations written on the board for his homework. It seemed more difficult than usual, but a few days later he was able to complete it. It turned out that he had solved two “unsolvable” problems in statistics that many scientists were struggling with.

9. The sum of all the numbers on the roulette wheel in the casino equals the number of the devil – 666.

10. In Indiana, in 1897, a bill was issued by law establishing the value of Pi as 3.2. This bill did not become law due to the timely intervention of a university professor.

11. Sophia Kovalevskaya was introduced to mathematics in her early childhood, when there was not enough wallpaper for her room, instead of which sheets with Ostrogradsky’s lectures on differential and integral calculus were pasted.

To be able to do science, Sofia Kovalevskaya had to enter into a fictitious marriage and leave Russia and also read At that time, Russian universities simply did not accept women, and to emigrate, a girl had to have the consent of her father or husband. Since Sophia’s father was adamantly opposed, she married the young scientist Vladimir Kovalevsky. Eventually, though, their marriage became de facto and they had a daughter.

12. The decimal number system that we use arose from the fact that a person has 10 fingers on his hands. The ability to count abstractly was not immediately apparent to human beings, and it was the fingers that were the most convenient to use for counting. The Maya civilization and independently of them, the Chukchi historically used the twenty notation system, using not only the fingers but also the toes. The basis of the duodecimal and hexadecimal systems widespread in ancient Sumer and Babylon was also the use of hands: the thumb counted the phalanxes of the other fingers of the palm, the number of which is 12.

13. In many sources, often with the aim of encouraging poorly performing students, there is a statement that Einstein failed at school in mathematics, or, moreover, he studied very badly in all subjects. In fact, that was not the case: Albert had a talent for mathematics at an early age and knew it well beyond the school curriculum.