As seen on the BART today:
That’s blurry, but it says:
Jacques Binet could have read this:
I can … kind of. Mathematician friends help me out. That expression would read: t times q minus g times j multiplied by Z over Y times C. The variables most likely signify units, and I would wager t=time, j=joules(?), C = coulombs, and q, g, Z, and Y are just for fun.
No, they probably stand for something. But what?
On a related note: that’s a brilliant bit of brainiac marketing. I was so intrigued I wrote down the poster in my little notebook, and I even looked up Jacques Binet on wikipedia. Turns out Jacques Philippe Marie Binet was quite a mathematician in the first half of the 19th century. He made “significant contributions” to number theory and matrix algebra, and he even derived his own theorem, Binet’s Theorem, which is this:
But you’ll have to understand a little about linear algebra to get a sense of what that means.
I’m curious to know what organization is behind this poster.
In other math news, Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos H. Papadimitriou wrote an amusing romp of a graphic novel about logic. Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth features interesting puzzles like Hilbert’s paradox and draws on the biography of logic rockstar Bertrand Russell. Stocking-stuffer anyone?