## Posts tagged ‘Leibniz’

### One Direction Don’t Know OoOps

What teenager isn’t compelled to act when Niall, Zayn, Liam, Harry and Louis pose a mental math problem?

Admittedly, I’m late to the party on *Your Math Skills Are Terrible*, a 2011 parody of One Direction’s hit *You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful*. But as far as I can tell, I’m the first one to question One Direction’s understanding of the order of operations.

The expression generated by the lyrics is as follows:

4 ÷ 2 + 6 × 60 + 2 – 100 + 24 ÷ 2 + 7 ÷ 3 + 60

And if you perform the operations left-to-right, you get the answer that One Direction claims: **130**.

But if you follow the order of operations as promoted by textbooks and math teachers, then you get a different answer: **338 1/3**.

Ah, well, did we really expect some young pop stars to get this right? At least their song taught me a new acronym: OAP = old age pensioner (an official term used to refer to retirees in the United Kingdom, though informally it just means an old person).

With this song, One Direction is hanging out at the intersection of math and music. Turns out, a lot of jokes hang out at that intersection, too.

What’s yellow, weighs 1,000 pounds, and sings?

Two 500-pound canaries.Lumberjacks make good mathematicians because of their natural log rhythms.

What’s the world’s longest song?

Aleph-null bottles of beer on the wall, aleph-null bottles of beer, …Music is the pleasure the human mind experiences from counting without being aware that it is counting. (Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz)

### DBEYR — Newton and Leibniz Did Not Text

Wilhelm Gottfried Liebniz was born on July 1, 1646, and his first paper about integral calculus was published 329 years ago. Whether he discovered calculus before or after Newton is an issue that mathematical historians have debated for centuries.

Honestly, who cares? Both were great mathematicians. Still, it’s fun to think about how this issue might play out if they were both alive today…

Check out the iPhone Text Generator to create your own fake text conversations.

### Fair and Square

I recently discovered a great problem:

Three points are randomly chosen along the perimeter of a square. What is the probability that the center of the square will be contained within the triangle formed by these three points?

My colleagues and I spent more time talking about this problem than I care to mention. But when all was said and done, I arrived at a wonderfully elegant solution. As usual, I won’t post the solution now to allow you some time to think about it, but I’ll post it in a few days.

The best part about this problem was the “Aha!” moment it afforded me. The solution eluded me when I forced myself to work on it. But yesterday morning, I was thinking about the problem while walking my dog. No pencil, no paper, no agenda… just time to think. And I kid you not — the solution came to me as I was picking up feces. (I have no idea what that says about me.)

This is my favorite part of mathematics. I can literally spend hours reworking equations, drawing figures, and thinking about a problem, and I’ll make no progress. Then later, when I least expect, when I’m freed from the confines of pencil and paper, the solution gently alights in my mind like a butterfly coming to rest on a marigold.

Oh, how I love that feeling!

Here are some math jokes that involve squares:

What keeps a tree in place?

Square roots.Where is the best location for a multiplication table?

Times Square.

And this one is more of a physics joke than a math joke, but I just love it…

Newton, Leibniz, and Pascal were playing hide-and-seek, and Leibniz was it. Pascal ran into the bushes, but Newton simply drew a box on the ground and stood in the middle of it. When Leibniz finished counting, he turned around and saw Newton just standing there.

“Newton, I’ve found you,” Leibniz said.

“No you haven’t,” argued Newton, “you’ve found Pascal.” Gesturing at the ground, he continued, “One Newton per square meter.”