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Jim Huggins
April 16th, 2007
09:16 pm
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Numbers, numbers, everywhere ...
What's Special About This Number?

Those of you who've had the privilege misfortune of having me for Discrete Math know about my really bad Proof by Contradiction:

Theorem: There are no uninteresting natural numbers.
Proof: Notice that the first several natural numbers have interesting properties.  0 is the additive identity; 1 is the multiplicative identity; 2 is the first prime; 3 is the first odd prime; 4 is the first composite number; 5 is the first number which is the sum of two different primes, and so on.  So, suppose by contradiction that there are uninteresting natural numbers.  Let U be the set of uninteresting natural numbers; as a subset of the natural numbers, by the Well-Ordering Principle, U has a least element n.  But the smallest element of a set is by definition interesting, so n cannot exist.  Thus, U cannot exist, and all natural numbers are interesting.

Yeah, it's a pretty stupid joke.  It goes over slightly better in class.

Anyways ... the web page linked above is one person's attempt to find the interesting properties of all numbers between 0 and 9999.  Not every number has a property yet ... but an amazing number do have.

Current Mood: geeky

(2 comments | Leave a comment)

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Date:April 17th, 2007 10:01 am (UTC)
Yesterday, at an "all hands" meeting (actually, the hands were attached to bodies, although I did search for a way to send only my hands), it was announced that we will be working with Kettering U -- co-op students!

So if I get one -- and it could happen...my first question will be "Did you have Prof. Huggins for Discrete Math?" If the answer is "yes", then I will ask: "Is it true that there are no uninteresting natural numbers?"

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Date:April 17th, 2007 03:00 pm (UTC)
Oh, Discrete Mathematics. Those were the days... days of pain, actually. :P But I know how to write badass proofs, now, at least...

And hey, I like the proof. :)
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