Euclid showed by a deliciously simple argument that the number of primes is infinite. In a completely different manner, Euler confirmed the same result. Euler’s conclusion followed from his demonstration that the sum of the reciprocals of the primes diverges:
Obviously, this could not happen if there were only finitely many primes.
Continue reading ‘Brun’s Constant and the Pentium Bug’
Published August 4, 2015
Tags: Algorithms, Euler, Topology
Leonhard Euler considered a problem known as The Seven Bridges of Königsberg. It involves a walk around the city now known as Kaliningrad, in the Russian exclave between Poland and Lithuania. Since Kaliningrad is out of the way for most of us, let’s have a look closer to home, at the bridges of Paris. [TM073: search for “thatsmaths” at irishtimes.com ]
Continue reading ‘The Bridges of Paris’
The article in this week’s That’s Maths column in the Irish Times ( TM043 ) is about the mathematical curves called clothoids, used in the design of motorways.
* * *
Continue reading ‘Clothoids Drive Us Round the Bend’
Published December 26, 2013
Tags: Arithmetic, Euler, Number Theory
Many mathematicians spend their time proving results. The (very old) joke is that they are machines for turning coffee into theorems. A theorem is a statement that has been shown, by a sequence of irrefutable steps, to follow logically from a set of fundamental assumptions known as axioms.
These axioms themselves may be self-evident, or may simply be assumed to be true. Given this, the statement contained in a theorem is known with certainty to be true.
Continue reading ‘Experiment and Proof’
Published November 7, 2013
Tags: Euler, Geometry, Topology
This week, That’s Maths in The Irish Times ( TM032 ) is about Euler’s Polyhedron Formula and its consequences.
Euler’s Polyhedron Formula
The highlight of the thirteenth and final book of Euclid’s Elements was the proof that there are just five “Platonic solids”. Recall that a regular polygon is a plane figure with all sides and angles equal, for example a square. By joining identical polygons together, we can form solid bodies called regular polyhedra. Continue reading ‘Euler’s Gem’