Now that no one cares about the contents of Joe the Plumber’s trash, it seems more resources can be devoted to boring old Albert Einstein’s “E=mc²” formula. It turns out he was right:
PARIS (AFP) — It’s taken more than a century, but Einstein’s celebrated formula e=mc2 has finally been corroborated, thanks to a heroic computational effort by French, German and Hungarian physicists.
A brainpower consortium led by Laurent Lellouch of France’s Centre for Theoretical Physics, using some of the world’s mightiest supercomputers, have set down the calculations for estimating the mass of protons and neutrons, the particles at the nucleus of atoms.
According to the conventional model of particle physics, protons and neutrons comprise smaller particles known as quarks, which in turn are bound by gluons.
The odd thing is this: the mass of gluons is zero and the mass of quarks is only five percent. Where, therefore, is the missing 95 percent?
The answer, according to the study published in the US journal Science on Thursday, comes from the energy from the movements and interactions of quarks and gluons.
In other words, energy and mass are equivalent, as Einstein proposed in his Special Theory of Relativity in 1905.
The e=mc2 formula shows that mass can be converted into energy, and energy can be converted into mass.
By showing how much energy would be released if a certain amount of mass were to be converted into energy, the equation has been used many times, most famously as the inspirational basis for building atomic weapons.
That’s right folks, Albert Einstein, genius and, lest we forget, war-monger.
Thanks, AFP, for adding the line about Einstein’s formula being “the inspirational basis for building atomic weapons” without any further contextual information as to Einstein’s political views.
There is some exciting news in the world of math this week as geeks and “about 100,000 computers” determine the largest prime number that has been proven, it’s about 13 million digits:
The new number is little more than that. Prime numbers are useful “building blocks” to many equations, but using existing algorithms to find new, large primes won’t likely affect ongoing research, said Cameron Stewart, a University of Waterloo professor and the Canada Research Chair in Number Theory. There are some practical implications (computer and security encryptions are based on prime numbers), but the find is more sport.
“They’re a good tool. They’re also mysterious; they’re subtle objects …” Prof. Stewart said of prime numbers.
Okay, so maybe it’s not really a big deal. And yes, that is a hint of snark in my words above (including the title). In fact, if you ask me, with the aid of computers these geeks have nothing to brag about.
I knew after I posted on the History of Math! that others would jump on the band-wagon and come out with their own posts about ancient semi-legendary mathematicians. Yes, I could sense at the time that something like a “Leave Brittany Alone” phenomenon was in our midst. Now, roughly 9 months after my post on the subject, scientificblogging.com picks up where I left off: the urban legend surrounding the death of Hippasus.
I’ve scanned photocopies of photocopies of 3 pages from an arithmetic “textbook” that was hand-written by my great-great-great-grandfather in the 1810s (he dates the first page “July 2nd 1813”). There are 136 pages in all and the writing is kinda sloppy, imho. I’m going to read through it and look for mistakes.
My grandfather turned 90 on the 25th of July, so I’ve been on the road lately. Luckily Melo came along for the ride to keep me company.
Also here, are pics of a road-sign which can be seen not far from my grandparents’ home.
I know this topic may seem out of place for this blog, but frankly, I don’t care. While reading about a completely unrelated subject I was reminded of the old 6th century B.C.E. Pythagoreans. You know… the followers of Pythagoras aka Hyperborean Apollo.
In particular, I was reminded of schism that took place amongst the Pythagoreans after their leader had died. Well, I’ll let Iamblichos explain: