an appropriate topic. 100 is a big, round number, which as we all

know means I have to do something significant. But then I realized

that there is one basic topic that I haven't covered: why am I doing

this in the first place? Why did I start recording Math Mutation?

Most podcasts say something like that in their first episode, but as

you may have noticed, I just plunged right into the math. That's

mainly because there are so many podcasters that don't stick with it,

and trail off after a dozen or so episodes. In those cases, having

one episode devoted to their vision of the podcast just makes them

look like a dork. Even more of a dork, that is, than if they had

recorded 99 podcasts about math. But anyway, having stuck it out for

100 episodes, I think it's time to cover this topic. I'll also cover

a couple of other loose ends that have been on my list.

Ever since I got my first ipod, in those long-ago days of 2005, I

have enjoyed listening to it in a mode where it is shuffling music and

short (<10 minute) podcasts, so I hear songs randomly interspersed

with interesting tidbits on a variety of subjects. A few years ago, I

realized there were great short-form podcasts on a lot of topics I

find interesting: history, science, astronomy, skepticism, humor, and

etymology, for example. But somehow the few math podcasts all seemed

focused on directly helping students with their schoolwork.

Not that there is anything wrong with that, of course. But this

meant that the fun parts of mathematics, the crazy and wild ideas that

had brought the subject to life for me & motivated my desire to major

in the subject in college, were just not covered. Some examples: the

geometric implications of higher dimensions, the weird consequences of

defining infinity, the amazing thought processes of autistic savants,

or the strange math-based composition methods of John Cage. If you've

been listening for 100 episodes I think you got the idea.

So, I thought I would fill this gap, and create a podcast that

highlights all these areas that fascinate me. It won't directly help

anyone with tonight's math homework-- but hopefully, it just might

make them more interested in getting it done, and really understanding

what's going on in some of the infinite worlds of mathematics. If

you're listening, then you probably agree, or at least enjoy making

fun of me for trying.

Now before I go, I should also cover a couple of loose ends.

First, I need to announce the winner of the Math Day Madness contest

announced in Episode 98: Chris Hantzmon from Klamath Falls, Oregon.

He proposed 'i day', to celebrate the imaginary number i, defined as

the square root of -1. This day is celebrated every February 29th,

which fittingly makes the holiday imaginary during most years, though

approximately every four years we do get to celebrate with some I-ce

cream. Honorable mention goes to Steffan Willis and Marc Jones, who

came up with a series of holidays including Calculus Day, determined

using numerical values of the letters in dy/dx; Fibonacci Day, on

Febrary 11th at 3:58 AM; Triangle Numbver Day, on June 13th at 10:15

AM; and Tetrahedral Numbers Day, on October 14th at 8:35 PM. In case

the derivations of the last few are confusing to you, remember that

those crazy UKers write their days before their months. And you can

check out the last three events on Facebook if you wish. Anyway,

congratulations to Chris, Steffan, and Marc!

Finally, a correction to an earlier podcast: I casually mentioned

that a mole is defined as the number of hydrogen atoms in a gram, but

I forgot about those pesky neutrons that can throw off these

calculations. Listener Ben Scarlato corrected me, that usually a

mole is defined in terms of Carbon-12 these days. Thanks Ben!

And this has been your math mutation for today.

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