Tag Archives | Mathematics

Scientists Use Math To Analyse The ‘Om’ Chant

OmMarc Abrahams for the Guardian:

Indian scientists wield sophisticated mathematics to dissect and analyse the traditional meditation chanting sound ‘Om’

Two Indian scientists are wielding sophisticated mathematics to dissect and analyse the traditional meditation chanting sound “Om”. The Om team has published six monographs in academic journals. These plumb certain acoustic subtleties of Om, which these researchers say is “the divine sound”.

Om has many variations. In a study published in the International Journal of Computer Science and Network Security, the researchers explain: “It may be very fast, several cycles per second. Or it may be slower, several seconds for each cycling of [the] Om mantra. Or it might become extremely slow, with the mmmmmm sound continuing in the mind for much longer periods but still pulsing at that slow rate. It is somewhat like one of these vibrations:

‘OMmmOMmmOMmm…

‘OMmmmmOMmmmmOMmmmm…

‘OMmmmmmmmOMmmmmmmmOMmm’…

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Russian Math Genius Refuses $1 Million Prize, Quits Mathematics For Ping Pong

Not only is Grigori Perelman turning down a $1 million prize for solving one of the world’s hardest math problems, he is giving up math for a life of table tennis. From the Huffington Post:

Dr Grigori Perelman, a reclusive Russian genius, is refusing to accept the prestigious $1 million “Millennium” mathematics prize awarded by the Clay Mathematics Institute in Cambridge, MA.

Perelman was awarded the prize for solving the one-hundred-year-old Poincaré conjecture, one of the most complicated mathematical problems in the world – so complex, in fact, that after Perelman posted his proofs in 2002 it took several years for other experts to confirm he was correct.

Perelman has apparently given up on mathematics, dismayed at the intellectual and moral failings of his peers. Instead, according to reports, he likes to play table tennis against a wall in his apartment. “You are disturbing me. I am picking mushrooms,” he told a journalist who managed to get in touch with him.

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The Math Behind Geometric Hallucinations

An interesting article from Plus Magazine on the mathematics of geometric hallucinations (think swirling patterns) and what it says about the brain:

Think drug-induced hallucinations, and the whirly, spirally, tunnel-vision-like patterns of psychedelic imagery immediately spring to mind. But it’s not just hallucinogenic drugs like LSD, cannabis or mescaline that conjure up these geometric structures. People have reported seeing them in near-death experiences, as a result of disorders like epilepsy and schizophrenia, following sensory deprivation, or even just after applying pressure to the eyeballs. So common are these geometric hallucinations, that in the last century scientists began asking themselves if they couldn’t tell us something fundamental about how our brains are wired up.

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The Philosophy of Punk Rock Mathematics

Tom Henderson, a/k/a Mathpunk

Tom Henderson, a/k/a Mathpunk

Tom Henderson explains his philosophy of punk rock mathematics. Via Technoccult:

1) People use the average Joe’s poor mathematics as a way to control, exploit, and numerically fuck him over.

2) Mathematics is the subject in which, regardless of what the authorities tell you is true, you can verify every last iota of truth, with a minimum of equipment.

Therefore, if you are concerned with the empowerment of everyday people, and you believe that it’s probably a good idea to be skeptical of authority you could do worse than to develop your skills at being able to talk math in such a way that anyone can ask questions, can express curiosity, can imagine applying it in the most weird-ass off-the-wall ways possible.

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Grad Student Uses Alien-Seeking Math to Explain Why He Can’t Find A Girlfriend

Frank Carnevale writes on news.au.com:
A student used the Drake Equation, used to calculate chances of alien life, to prove why he was single. Peter Backus, a native of Seattle and PhD candidate in the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick, near London, took on his own dating woes in "Why I don't have a girlfriend: An application of the Drake Equation to love in the UK." In describing the paper online, he wrote "the results are not encouraging", MyFox reports. "The probability of finding love in the UK is only about 100 times better than the probability of finding intelligent life in our galaxy." Mr Backus, 30, found that of the 30 million women in the UK, only 26 would be suitable girlfriends for him, according to Click Liverpool.
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