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Additional resources for A Passion for Mathematics
The Beal reward. In the mid-1990s, the Texas banker Andrew Beal posed a perplexing mathematical problem and offered $5,000 for the solution of this problem. In particular, Beal was curious about the equation Ax + B y = C z. The six letters represent integers, with x, y, and z greater than 2. ) Oddly enough, Beal noticed that for any solution of this general equation he could find, A, B, and C have a common factor. For example, in the equation 36 + 183 = 38, the numbers 3, 18, and 3 all have the factor 3.
God has a transfinite book with all the theorems and their best proofs. You don’t really have to believe in God as long as you believe in the book” (Paul Erdös, quoted in Bruce Schechter, My Brain Is Open: The Mathematical Journeys of Paul Erdös, 1998). Song lyrics. 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 the 1920s, the British mathematician G. H. Hardy wrote a postcard to his friend, listing six New Year’s wishes: 1. prove the Riemann hypothesis 2. score well at the end of an important game of cricket 3. find an argument for the nonexistence of God that convinces the general public 4. be the first man at the top of Mount Everest Mathematicians and God. “Mathematicians, astronomers, and physicists are often religious, even mystical; biologists much less often; econ- 5. be the first president of the USSR, Great Britain, and Germany 6.