Much mystery surrounds perfect numbers. Are there any odd perfect numbers? No one knows. Are there infinitely many even perfect numbers? No one knows that either.
Which reminds me: if you haven't seen Look Around You yet, see it. Amy is the one who told me about this. For a long time Todd was in her phone as CLASSIFIED Man A, etc. Maybe he still is. If that's not true love, I'm a pink leather piñata.
I like the math department at BYU. Do you know why? They're always talking about how math is creative. Convincingly. They make some very dope posters. There was one for a lecture about The Math of Music that was just visually stunning. Also one announcing when the New York Times data visualization specialist was giving a lecture, which I found out about the day after it happened. They have a big campaign where they use Einstein's live-traced face over the words BE CREATIVE. BYU MATH. They designed these dope t-shirts for pi day; I bet you've seen them. Baby blue with the first few thousand digits of pi in the shape of the Americas. I signed up to volunteer at the pi day activities just to get one. Yeah, that's right: pi day activities. They were fun. It was a gorgeous spring day. I'm telling you, those math people are creative. And the humanities and advertising people they've got doing their PR are also top-notch. I'm not just being snarky; I'm serious about both of the things I just said.
A math guy, I read in the New York Times recently, modeled how human language spread from Africa to the rest of the globe based on how many different sounds languages have. I mean I'm glad we can know this stuff. And we can know it thanks to math. Or maths. What I'm driving at is that math IS creative. You have to be innovative to find ways to answer the questions that interest you in a world that sometimes seems already to have been gone over with several fine-toothed combs. I mean of course for all this nature is never spent; there lives the dearest freshness deep down things. As Hopkins put it. But math and linguistics? I mean guys, this is to extend the frontiers of mortal knowledge. This is human ingenuity at its most elegant.
Are you worried this blog is turning into some kind of serial love paean to Math? Relax; it could be worse. I will tell you that I took my final today and felt pretty fine about it. Remember what I said about math tests? They can be so satisfying.