Math Explained through Anagrams


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with enormous debt to the Internet Anagram Server,
(i.e., “I, Rearrangement Servant”)

Also, some reader submissions from Science by Degrees:

  • Green’s Theorem = Emergent Heroes
  • Cosine Rule = Rescue Lion

17 thoughts on “Math Explained through Anagrams

  1. Andre Weil Alder Wine

    “Hmm, Taniyama and Shimura, does this hypothesis’ vintage taste woody to you? ”

    Amalie Emmy Nöether email meany theorem

    “Hey, Emmy, why not send this business about splitting fields of central division algebras over a field to Brauer and see what he makes of it?”

    1. Ah, both nice!

      For “Emmy Noether” I found “Mother Enemy” but that seemed weird (and kinda sexist?) so I left it on the cutting room floor

      1. Yes, I saw that, too and rejected it, though “Enemy Mother” had some possibilities. Hadn’t realized that her actual first name was Amalie. Adding that really made the possibilities expand dramatically.

  2. Ack! There is no set of all sets 🙁 What do you mean real and concrete?

    On law of sines: don’t you actually want the law of cosines for that problem? Law of sines would be useful if you knew an angle, its opposite side, and either one of the other angles or either one of the other two sides.

  3. I am a big fan of US customary units (an no they are not imperial) and I don’t get why conversion is a big deal. It is just a linear transformation.

    1. What’s the appeal of US customary? All the nice divisibility-by-three? The names? (I’ll agree that “inch” and “yard” are definitely more resonant than “centimeter” and “meter.”)

      1. 12 inches in a foot, 360 degrees in a circle, 60 minutes in a second, and 24 hours in a day. It makes me feel connected to an intellectual tradition that predates Arabic numerals, giving us this base 60 and base 12 artifacts.

        In a previous life I traded bonds and the pricing quotes come across — 100-213.
        That is, Par and 21 and 3 eighths thirty-seconds. (256ths? No, eighths of thirty-seconds). Even very modern industries stay away from base 10.

        All units are arbitrary anyway. (Well except for those really good ones that only smart people use like radians and Planck lengths.) The universal gravitational constant is a big ugly number regardless of the units.

        There is rarely a good reason to switch between units. Astronomers measure distances in centimeters. As in the speed of light is 3 x 10^10 cm / s. They never use meters or kilometers. The reason they use centimeters is that that is the units they use to measure their mirrors.

        My girlfriend is a scientist, and she can’t deal with the metric system. She is fine with it in laboratory settings, but away from the lab, she asks me questions like how many grams are in a teaspoon. And want to say one is a unit of mass and the other is a unit of volume, but I know that she is looking at a French cookbook, and the recipe has asked for 15 grams of sugar. She can read French, but she can’t make metric conversions.

        People who are really good with the metric system? Drug dealers. Not only can they tell you how many grams are in an ounce, they could tell you how many grams are in 1/8th oz.

        More silliness.

        US customary is not Imperial. The Imperial pint is 20 oz while the US pint is 16 oz. Their gallon is similarly bigger. For that matter the Imperial oz is slightly larger than the US oz. The US measures are older, of the two.

        tan 1 = 100 feet / mile (nautical). Useful to know if you are navigating and off course, or are trying to nail that lading in your airplane.

  4. How about Srinivasan Ramanujan = As raja minus nirvana? Doesn’t capture the math, but does a decent job with the life story.

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