There's a delightful mathematical moment in the movie Merry Andrew, when Danny Kaye, playing schoolmaster Andrew Larabee, breaks into song to teach the Pythagorean theorem.
I was reminded of this scene by a sentence in an article about the Pythagorean theorem in the October issue of Mathematics Magazine. The Pythagorean theorem "is probably the only nontrivial...
Just a year before his death in 1920 at the age of 32, mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan came upon a remarkable pattern in a special list of whole numbers.
The list represented counts of how many ways a given whole number can be expressed as a sum of positive integers. For example, 4 can be written as 3 + 1, 2 + 2, 2 + 1 + 1, and 1 + 1 + 1 + 1. Including 4 itself...