Is the Universe a Number?

Original Air Date: 
October 07, 2017
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For centuries, mathematicians have been looking for the deep design, the mathematical code to explain everything from microorganisms to spacetime. But it’s a dangerous quest.

We’ll meet a mathematician who got lost in the numerical mysteries of the Kabbalah. And, we’ll discover the underlying structure of the universe through crochet.

 

Plastic crochet corals from the "Crochet Coral Reef" project by Christine and Margaret Wertheim and the Institute For Figuring.
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What if the geometric structure of the universe has been hidden, for centuries, in crochet?More

Torah and jad - exhibits in Big Synagogue Museum, Wlodawa - Poland. (CC BY 2.5)
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Sometimes you can take math too far. Dig too deep. And end up drowned in your own numbers. This is a story of one famous mathematician’s obsession with the ancient and mystical and numerical world of the Kabbalah.More

An egg in a nest
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Frank Wilczek is a Nobel Prize-winning physicist at MIT. He's kind of obsessed, in his own way, with understanding the universe. Specifically, he’s interested in what he calls “the beautiful question." Is the universe naturally, inherently beautiful?More