What was the coolest math discovery

Best number in the world: "Big Bang Theory" makes maths discovery

Updated

A statement by Sheldon Cooper on the TV series puzzled number theorists. Your findings have now been published.

Incredulous looks, laughs - these are the reactions that Sheldon Cooper from the TV series "Big Bang Theory" usually provokes with his friends and fans with his statements.

But sometimes he also makes real researchers ponder - for example with one of his thoughts from the 73rd episode.

No number is better than 73

In this, the fictional physicist declared 73 to be the best known number (see video above). It fulfills properties that no other has.

Sheldon sent the reason immediately afterwards: "73 is the 21st prime number, its mirror number - 37 - the 12th, and its mirror number (21) is the product of the multiplication of - hold on - 7 and 3."

After the episode aired in 2015, Christopher Spicer of Morningside College in Iowa and Carl Pomerance of Dartmouth College in New Hampshire investigated whether there were any other numbers that matched this.

Their conclusion after a good four years of research: The 73 is actually the only prime number that meets the criteria mentioned by Sheldon. This is what the soon to be published American Mathematical Monthly says, as announced by Dartmouth College.

Knowledge is the subject of TV

Fun fact: When the scientific advisor of the series, David Saltzberg, learned that scientists were so intensively concerned with Sheldon's considerations, he immortalized their findings in an episode.

It first aired in the United States on April 18, 2019. It is not yet known when this will flicker across our screen.

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