2 min read

The Path to Greater Knowledge

I realize that almost all I know came from the fact that there is always something I didn't know about in something I know something about and I am just too damn curious to let it go.

As a result every now and then I realize that I have irreversibly opened some closed shut door of knowledge that I was to ignorant to even notice before and the real scale of my ignorance falling trough that door crushes me to death. Metaphorically, of course.

Today I have, however, opened door much much bigger than I expected...

Here is my path to these doors today:

I took a Quiz - Are you a Well Rounded Individual?
Call it cheating but I had to go and make sure that palindrome is what I think it is.
It was.

I then discovered that the Wiki article is very well developed for just a poor silly palindrome. Curiously enough, it said that:

"A palindromic number is a number where the digits, with decimal representation usually assumed, are the same read backwards, for example, 58285. They are studied in recreational mathematics where palindromic numbers with special properties are sought."

I found it really interesting and I went to make sure that recreational mathematics is what I think it is.
It was.
I read the article and I noticed that it said:

In the Doctor Who episode "42", the Doctor completes a sequence of happy primes, then complains that schools no longer teach recreational mathematics.

But I didn't know what a happy prime was. I never thought primes can be happy. Ha Ha. Jumping around little happy numbers on a little playground of number theorists.
Well. I followed the link.

There is such thing as a happy and unhappy numbers! An I thought it was a JOKE! (-.-'')
When I got over my stupidity, I read more about the happy numbers and happy primes.

There was a list of happy numbers below 500.

I was surprised to find that most of the numbers in above list were also links to articles , so I followed one to see what is is about 496 that they have an article about it.
I found out that 496 is not only happy, but it's also perfect, triangular, hexagonal and nontotient, just to mention some of the attributes.
Strangely enough, it seems to be pretty important in physics:

The number 496 is a very important number in superstring theory. In 1984, Michael Green and John H. Schwarz realized that one of the necessary conditions for a superstring theory to make sense is that the dimension of the gauge group of type I string theory must be 496. The group is therefore SO(32). Their discovery started the first superstring revolution. It was realized in 1985 that the heterotic string can admit another possible gauge group, namely E8 x E8.

And this was the moment when I opened the door.
I followed the link to superstring theory.


Naturally, I'm now squished to death by the scale of my ignorance.