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Science
5 NUMBERS
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PROGRAMME INFO
Mon-Fri 15:45-16:00
A quirky look at five of the most important numbers in mathematics. Hear about the stark reality behind the imaginary number, try a slice of pi, find out about the natural beauty of the golden ratio, discover why some infinities are bigger than others, and see why nothing really matters.
LISTEN AGAINListen 15 min
1. Zero
2. Pi
3. Golden Ratio
4. Imaginary Number
5. Infinity
PRESENTER
SIMON SINGH
Simon Singh
PROGRAMME DETAILS
Monday to Friday 11-15 March 2002
5 numbers
Programme 1: Zero
What's 2 minus 2? The answer is obvious, right? But not if you wore a tunic, no socks and lived in Ancient Greece. For strange as it sounds, 'nothing' had to be invented, and then it took thousands of years to catch on.
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Programme 2: Pi
At its simplest, Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. At its most complex, it is an irrational number that cannot be expressed as the ratio of two whole numbers and has a random decimal string of infinite length.
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Programme 3: The Golden Ratio
Divide any number in the Fibonacci sequence (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55) by the one before it and the answer is always close to 1.618 the Golden Ratio.
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Programme 4: The Imaginary 'i'
The imaginary number takes mathematics to another dimension. It was discovered in sixteenth century Italy at a time when being a mathematician was akin to being a modern day rock star. The puzzle of the day was: "If the square root of +1 is both +1 and -1, then what is the square root of -1?"
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Programme 5: Infinity
Given the old maxim about an infinite number of monkeys and typewriters, one can assume that said simian digits will type up the following line from Hamlet an infinite number of times:
"I could confine myself to a nutshell and declare myself king of infinity".
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5 Numbers Quiz:
What number are you?

So you've read about five of the greatest numbers in the history of the world ever. But which number are you? Play our number game to reveal secrets about your inner self that you never dreamed of.
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Don't miss series 2:
Another 5 Numbers >>>


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DON'T MISS
Leading Edge
5 NUMBERS PAGES
Zero
Pi
Golden Ratio
Imaginary Number
Infinity
5 Numbers Quiz
ANOTHER 5 NUMBERS
The Number Four
The Number Seven
The Largest Prime Number
Kepler's Conjecture
OTHER SERIES
A Further 5 Numbers
Five Shapes
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