April 13, 2012 at 11:45 pm

Great Matters of Grey Matter-13


  • Google takes its name from the word “googol”, pronounced the same as “Google”. The word googol refers to the number 10 to the 100th power. It was supposedly coined in 1938 by nine-year-old Milton Sirrota when his uncle, mathematician Edward Kasner, asked him for a good name for a really big number.
  • “con” is not a valid folder name on a PC.
  • Neil Armstrong’s famous quote was a mistake– he missed the article ‘a’: “That’s one small step for [a] man; one giant leap for mankind”. Without the ‘a’, the word ‘man’ is a synonym for mankind. Some sources say that Armstrong made the mistake, while others say he is misquoted due to radio interference.
  • According to some mathematicians, we should all abandon π as the circle constant and instead use τ (pronounced tau), which would be the same as 2π. Instead of c=πd, we would say c=τr. Reasons include that 2π is in a lot of equations, that defining the circle constant in terms of the radius is more natural since a circle is defined in terms of its center and its radius, and that a single turn of a circle in trigonometry would equal τ radians instead of 2π radians. And don’t worry, Euler’s identity is safe. With τ, it becomes e^(τi)=1.
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