Time and again, pure mathematics displays an astonishing quality. A piece of mathematics is developed (or discovered) by a mathematician who is, often, following his or her curiosity without a plan for meeting some identified need or application. Then, later, perhaps decades or centuries later, this mathematics fits perfectly into some need or application.

## You're reading: Posts Tagged: euler

### Pedantry on Euler and masts

I listened to the second episode of A Brief History of Mathematics on Euler yesterday. I was quite taken with a quote from Euler which, to me, says something of the potential dangers of the application of mathematics to the real world. The relevant section of the programme is:

### What’s pi got to do with it?

Last week at Meet the Mathematicians I saw a talk by Jon Keating , “Some thoughts on the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics” (an essay by Wigner). One element that I have taken away from this was when Jon was talking about the unexpected connections between mathematical concepts, illustrated using the normal distribution (an example from the original essay). The bell shaped curve depends on the mean and the variance, which is perfectly reasonable. The curve depends as well on pi. So Jon posed the question: If you take a large group of people, measure their heights (or other body parts, or lots of other types of data) and arrange them on a histogram, what has that to do with the ratio between the circumference and diameter of a circle?

### Podcast: Episode 11 – History with Noel-Ann Bradshaw – Euler

These are the show notes for episode 11 of the Travels in a Mathematical World podcast. All palindromic numbers (that is, numbers that remain the same when their digits are reversed) with an even number of digits are divisible by 11. More about the number 11 from Prime Curios. There is a wealth of information on palindromic numbers at worldofnumbers.com.