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Roots of Unity

The Most Mathematically Perfect Day of the Year


Whether you write it 6/28 or 28/6, today is a perfect day. A perfect number is a number that is the sum of its factors besides itself, and 6 (1+2+3) and 28 (1+2+4+7+14) are the first two perfect numbers. Hence, June 28 is a perfect day. Perfect numbers are few and far between, so don’t [...]

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Roots of Unity

Collective Nouns for Mathematicians

A "proof" of mathematicians at the 2013 Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Diego. Image: American Mathematical Society.

Every once in a while I stumble on an interesting collective noun, usually for animals: a parliament of owls, a knot of toads, an exaltation of larks. I’ll be at the Joint Math Meetings this week with several thousand of my best mathematical friends, so it seems appropriate to figure out what to call a [...]

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