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Relatively Prime, All in a Name

“Prime. Prime? Prime! Prime factors, twin primes, pseudo-primes? No, no no. Relatively Prime? Yes, Relatively Prime.”

I have a problem, no matter how good an idea I have I can not start to work on it until I have a name. Some names are easy, Combination and Permutations was a name well before I ever had a show to use it, Science Sparring Society followed directly from the concept, and ACMEScience NEWS NOW actually told me what type of show I would be making. Other names are hard.

I had the underlying idea for Relatively Prime (get the first episode here) in an extreme bout of egotism and delusion of grandeur where I spent too long listening to Radio Lab, This American Life, and Snap Judgment and began to think, “Hey, I could do that, but for math.”

Then I did nothing with the idea. I had my reasons. I did not have the time as I was finishing my Masters, I did not have the money, I did not have the experience, but mostly I did not have the name. A few months passed and the first excuse went away as I defended and graduated. As for the third excuse, how was I supposed to get experience if I did not try new things? That left two excuses, the lack of funds and the name. The latter seemed easier to resolve, so I spent well over two weeks scouring my brain, my friends brain, and the internet’s brain for some sort of great mathematics related name. I have never searched for a name that hard, but when I found it I knew it was perfect. That just left the money.

I had been a fan of Kickstarter for years (I have backed 37 other projects) and knew that it was exactly what I needed. I was right, but that was proven only due to a ridiculous last day where I earned around 35% of my total goal (I had already braced myself for my inevitable failure at that point to be truthful), and now I had my money.

That only left having to actually do the project.

I spent a couple of months planning out my topics, who I would interview, and where I would travel. Then I hopped on a plane in early November bound for Barcelona. By the time a Greyhound bus dropped me off at home in April, I had interviewed a Fields Medalist, a composer, and a ground breaking AI researcher. I had been on 2 continents, in 4 countries, and endured an over 74 hour bus ride (if you want any stories about these travels, just send me an email; I am happy to share). By the time I had returned home I was itching to start production. It took months, but by the end of August 2012 I had eight episodes about new tools for your mathematical toolboxes, the intersection of mathematics and music, a checkers playing computer, innovators in mathematical education, the shape of things, Erdos, the power of the unexpected, and collections of numbers.

It has been nearly two years since I first had the idea for Relatively Prime, and around a year since I found its name, and it has been an adventure. I really do hope that you check out the episodes, I have never been as proud of anything that I have created as I am about Relatively Prime.

Relatively Prime is a series of eight shows all about the stories behind mathematics that was funded through Kickstarter. The first episode of Relatively Prime will be released on September 17th and the series will run until November 5th, with a new episode being released every Monday. Relatively Prime will be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License and Samuel Hansen is looking forward to any remixes that may result. The show will be available to download directly at the show’s website, through the RSS Feed, and through iTunes.

Related: It’s Imminently Time For Relatively Prime by Christian Perfect.

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