Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sunday May 27, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:00 AM
Random Number
The previous entry links back to May 18’s “Devil in the Details,” an entry quoting Peter Woit.  Yesterday afternoon Woit, who sometimes writes on pure mathematics as well as physics, posted an entry on a talk said to be related to something called “the ABC-conjecture,” which has been called “the most important unsolved problem in diophantine analysis.” (Dorian Goldfeld,  “Beyond the Last Theorem,” The Sciences, March/April 1996, 34-40)

On the ABC-conjecture in number theory:

“We hope to elucidate the beautiful connections between elliptic curves, modular forms and the ABC–conjecture.” —Dorian Goldfeld (pdf)

An Edinburgh postgraduate student on the conjecture:

“… abc brings us full circle to Fermat’s Last Theorem….” —Graeme Taylor at Everything2.com

I regret I can add nothing to Taylor’s admirable exposition and to Goldfeld’s “beautiful connections” except the following observation of a rather ugly connection.

The previous Log24 entry, from yesterday afternoon, related the May 18 “details” entry to Friday’s PA evening lottery number, 005.  A  followup seems (if only to honor the madcap tradition of John Nash) to be called for.  The PA evening number yesterday evening, Saturday, was 443.  Nash, in his younger days, might have been pleased to note that this number is associated (if only by coincidence) with a topic Woit mentioned earlier yesterday– Fermat’s famed conjecture:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07/070527-Fermat.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Page 443

in The Annals of Mathematics,
2nd Ser., Vol. 141, No. 3 (May, 1995)
This is the first page of a rather
 famous paper by Andrew Wiles.

Such coincidences are, of course, anathema to believers in the religion of Scientism.  But one such believer, Natalie Angier (yesterday morning’s entry), at least acknowledges the charm of “the atheist’s favorite Christmas movie, ‘Coincidence on 34th Street.'” (pdf)

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