“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.