Course Details

430: Numbers

July 13-15, 2020
9:45 AM - 11:15 AM

Although the alphabet gets most of the press, numbers have been with us humans just as long. This study group will start with Egyptian (who invented dyadic multiplication an division), Babylonian (who used binomial squares for their multiplications) and Chinese (who could work both decimal and hexadecimal math on an abacus) beginnings and go on to aspects of modern number theory, with emphasis on a few particular numbers (pi, Fibonacci's number, and e, the basis of natural logarithms) and touching upon once obscure branches such as modular arithmetic as used in computer cryptography, and humanity’s never-ending quest to avoid long division. While no more than grade-school arithmetic is required, combinations of numbers for special applications such as vectors, spinors and tensors will be discussed.

Class Format: Lecture and Discussion

Hours of Reading: No reading

Study Group Leader(s):

Jacques Read
Jacques Read has a doctorate in both chemistry and physics, and has performed research at Oak Ridge and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories. He has taught at Fairleigh Dickinson University and the University of California, and been employed by the AEC, NRC, and DOE. He has been a study group leader since 2013.