M is for Math is all around

There are people who actually don’t understand that math is everywhere.

I have this friend Bruce who turned 70 late last year. I’ve only known him for about a decade, so I didn’t know him when he was raising his children. At his party, I learned that one of the primary messages to his kids was that “math is everywhere.” I definitely believe that.

I’ve been hooked on numbers ever since I realized that if you add up the digits in a long number and the total adds up to 9, the number is divisible by 9. Obviously, that same number, if even, is divisible by 18. If it ends with a 5, is divisible by 45, and if it ends with a zero, is divisible by 90. My daughter thinks multiplying by 9 is cool too. You multiply by 10, then subtract the number you multiplied by. So 7X9=7X10-7X1=70-7=63.

I was also fascinated that 5X5=25 and 6X4=24, 6X6=36 and 7X5=35, et al. Thus Y squared =(Y+1) (Y-1) +1. So I know if 123 squared=15129, then I know that 124×122=15128. My daughter is starting to figure this out, too.

Speaking of The Daughter, this problem in her third-grade math homework really bugged me. How many combinations of pennies and dimes are there that will total 45 cents? The given answer was four, but I contend there are five: 4 dimes and 5 pennies, 3 dimes and 15 pennies, 2 dimes and 25 pennies, 1 dime and 35 pennies, and 0 dimes and 45 pennies; the last was deemed wrong, but the wording of the question was vague enough that I would dispute that.

Loved this CBS News story about geometry and pasta: “People may think more about the taste of pasta than its shape. Architects and chefs, however, find much beauty in the design of different pastas.”

I learned to do square root by hand in school. Now I can find it on a $5 calculator in two seconds. I still try to do it manually, though, just because I can.

One of my regrets is that, when one goes bowling, they’ve taken away the ability to figure out the score myself.

There are people who actually don’t understand that math is everywhere. The old recipe book says that I require 10 32 ounce cans for a bunch of lasagna I’m making. But they don’t make 32-ounce cans anymore, they only make 28-ounce cans. How many cans will I need?

Paula Scott explains that the Snellen eye chart is based on geometry.

Old math joke: why is 6 afraid of 7? Because 7 , 8(ate), 9!

Studies show that math is easier if you’ve memorized the easy stuff.

The poem Problems by Langston Hughes.

Someone has found a prime number with 17,425,170 digits.

Of course, I CAN be obsessive. I play license plate math. I see a plate, and it’s usually divided into two parts. I try to calculate each side down to a more common factor. Since there are so many letters, I assign them values. The Roman numerals stay the same. Then I attribute values to other letters as needed. Example: ABC 12345 becomes ABC=12345. C is 100 so AB(100)=12345, AB=123.45; B kinda looks like 13, so A(13)=123.45, which is some number less than 10, but greater than 9. (It’s actually 9.49615385, but I’m doing this in my head, so I’m guessing A=9.5.) Yeah, scary.

I DO recognize that not EVERYONE is as comfortable with math as I am – I’m talking basic arithmetic, plus algebra, geometry, and trigonometry; I was lost when I got to calculus.

Do the math on climate change.

Math IS everywhere!


ABC Wednesday – Round 12