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Tech or Treat! November 1, 2006

Posted by Sacha in Humor.
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Raymond had this great post today about celebrating Halloween at Microsoft with the kids:

 I remember a colleague of mine who brought his young daughter to work for Hallowe’en. A conversation with “Cathy” some days later went like this:

“Hi, Cathy.”

“Hi.”

“Do you know where your daddy works?”

“He works at Microsoft.”

“Do you know what your daddy does at work?”

“He walks around and gets candy.”

Hope you all had a frightfully fun Halloween!

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Twin Prime Conjecture July 29, 2006

Posted by Sacha in Humor, Mathematics.
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You find the funniest things on the web…  The other night I found this recording while snooping around in the in the on-line NPR archives.  It’s a Nova scienceNOW produced song called “The Twin Prime Conjecture” with music by Rob Morsberger.  Well, anyway, I have been cracking up ever since I heard it and it is by far one of the geekiest things out there.  Have a listen

A prime number is a positive whole number which is only divisible by itself and one.  So, what is the twin prime conjecture?  “There are infinitely many primes p such that p + 2 is also prime.” (Quoted from Wikipedia)  In other words, the sets like (3,5) (11,13) (17,19) … continue to happen with infinitely large prime numbers.  This conjecture may have been around from as early as Euclid’s time (300 BCE).  What made such big news last year was that Goldston, Yildirim, and Pintz published papers proving that there will always be pairs of primes a bound distance apart.  This is a big step in the direction of proving the twin prime conjecture.  Read some of Goldston’s papers here

What I have found really cool about a bunch of news sites lately is that they are set up for discussions.  PBS is no exception.  They have a discussion of twin primes and Goldston has even chimed in.

In addition to this, there are a TON of fabulous podcasts on the NPR Health and Science site.  I highly recommend it for causal and serious nerds alike.  

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One Ring, Two Ring, Red Ring, Blue Ring May 9, 2006

Posted by Sacha in Humor.
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This is a small, but hopfully growing, ongoing list of scientific papers (published and unpublished) from researchers with a sense of humor.   

This one got published:  New Dust Belts of Uranus: One Ring, Two Ring, Red Ring, Blue Ring  When I forwarded it to my lab's PI, he wasn't as amused as I.  I must have a reputation, because I think he thought I was serious when I asked if I too could name my paper after a Dr. Seuss book.

This one you just have to read (not published, thank god): Electron Band Structure In Germanium, My Ass.  My husband has two degrees, one in Comp Eng and one in physics and I think the conclusion pretty much sums up how he feels about physics too.  (Correct me if I'm wrong, dear.)