The mathematical notation for the angle in colors of pink and green on a white background

The Annotated Numberphile #2: First Anniversary

Table of Contents

This is the next part in a series on Numberphile. I am personally annotating videos from each year. I want to show how mathematics becomes personally meaningful. It isn’t always just about the math as the following selection shows. Often, for me, it has to do with the memories these videos trigger.

The following post features videos from Numberphile’s first anniversary. You can find any year published in the following table of contents.


The Playlist

Here is the playlist of the first anniversary videos. They are in order of publication date. The personal annotations are numbered by the video’s position in the playlist for easy reference. You can view this playlist on YouTube.

There are 79 videos and the total playlist time is about 10 hours and 57 minutes. In the top right corner of the playlist embed, there is a hamburger menu. Clicking this will allow you to navigate to any video in the playlist.

Personal Annotations

(2) 400 and Gamebooks

Choose Your Own Adventure books were my favorite to check out of the library when I was a kid. I did not know that Steve Jackson created a series of them! This video delights me and reminds me of my youth.

(17) Numbers and Brains

My degree is in psychology and my main interest was always cognitive science. Some research in psychology that suffers from poor experimental design. There are many things that we can’t quantify.

This isn’t as much of a problem in cognitive psychology though. We have ways to measure what is happening with tools like FMRI. As well as other biological processes.

I recommend reading anything by Oliver Sacks if cognitive science interests you. A good book to start with is The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat. I often gift this book to friends because it reveals so much about how our brains work.

(20) Dragon Curve

I haven’t watched this video in years but it sticks in my memory. This might be because it is about a fractal. My first ever math dream was about the Mandelbrot Set. So I find it all very interesting. The Dragon Curve features in the novel Jurassic Park.

(24) Pi and the Size of the Universe

This is another video that is one of my favorites. Pi doesn’t interest me as much as e does. But I like this one because it relates to Astronomy. Which is one of my favorite subjects. Brady also has a channel about that where they have videos on the Messier Objects.

(29) Calculating Pi with Real Pies

Matt Parker has unique methods for calculating pi. This year they gathered hundreds of people to calculate pi by hand. I like it so much that I’m embedding it here.

(39) Random Numbers

Computers aren’t great at creating random number generation that is true random. In this video, they use uranium instead. Explaining why true randomness is so difficult to achieve.

(57) Cicada 17

This video is relevant to 2024 when the 13-year and 17-year cicada swarms will be out at the same time. Something that only happens every 221 years! This is a rare occurrence. In this video, Steve Mould explains what is so mathematical about this event.

(61) Infinity Paradoxes

Infinity is complicated. There is more to it than what its definition would tell you. Mathematically, it is pretty mind-blowing. For example, some infinities are bigger than others! For more infinity fun, watch the Trip to Infinity documentary on Netflix.

(73) Fermat’s Last Theorem

I would be remiss if I didn’t include this video. It is Fermat’s Last Theorem that helped me accept my love of mathematics.

I was in high school when Andrew Wiles completed his proof. It was during this time that I picked up my first books on math. One that was a detailed explanation of the proof (which I didn’t understand.) The other was this book from Dover on Number Theory. It is pretty cheap and doesn’t require much more than elementary school math. Worth picking up.

Simon Singh is the best writer on the topic of mathematics. I find reading is the best way for me to learn. I have a massive list of math books for those interested.

(77) Sloane’s Gap

This video brings up an important resource for mathematicians. It is the On-line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences. Which by the way, celebrated 50 years in 2023! Founded by Neil Sloane, there are more than 362,765 listed sequences. It is fun to start looking up your favorite numbers. This video talks about research showing which numbers come up in the most sequences.

That is it for this year. We still have plenty more to go. If you are still with me, thanks for joining me on this journey. Here is the next post in the series.