All of the questions you’ll find on this site were posed to us via email, at our stand at Burningman, in person by friends, or this one time in Union Square. Keep in mind that some of the questions asked are controversial and/or involve some subjectivity. While we’ll do our best to answer them as accurately and objectively as possible, it’s best to keep in mind that mathematicians and physicists are humans too.

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1. David says:

On a related note it seems to me the mysteriousness of numbers is somehow related to the idea of universals and or universal properties. I read a fascinating article in Scientific American August Issue “What is Real”.

2. Chris Wiggins says:

Is 1 + 1 = 2 an axiom? If yes or no, why?

3. Tox says:

Yes, 1+1=2 is an axiom because it is a accepted truth.

4. murat says:

dear sir.
we are discussing of 0^0 undefined.
if we are solving 0^0 by limits then ours result is 1(every time?)
can u write using 0^0 undefined and its resulting non 1 with different analitic functions.
this funcions could be trgonometric,compos..exponent etc..

5. Toomany says:

Does a circle have sides?

6. The Physicist says:

Just the one.

7. Sarah Yuki says:

I was wondering… what websites do you guys think is a great way to get better at math? I’ve seen different communities online where you can solve problems – which ones do you guys recommend?

8. x4n says:

1+1=2 is more of a derived theorem from logic (using for e.g. Peano axioms). For more information refer to Principia Mathematica which just about proves it in over 300 pages. Or do like any other person on Earth and take it at face value.

9. Anders says:

If the photon is the force carrier for electromagnetism and the photon can’t escape from a black hole how are black holes able to have magnetic fields?

10. Emily says:

Hey guys, thanks so much for your article on nuclear spin. Just wondering how you would like to be cited in a report or assignment? I just can’t find any other source that it explains it as simply as you.

Thanks again.

11. savannah says:

that info is nice and all but my question to you is: what energy is in hair dye and is transferred into the hair?

12. Thanks for the good write-up, I was hunting for details like this, visiting have a look at the various other articles.

13. Bill says:

Is this accurate? http://youtu.be/plQ4wrZvGlI

14. Nicholas says:

Could you explain some orbital mechanics to me? Specifically, hohmann transfer orbits and how to calculate them. Thank you!

15. Alex Chapa says:

Is there a way to calculate the smallest amount of matter that bends space-time by ”what amount” that deflects light, and also bends space-time that doesn’t deflect light…

If we do, I would wonder if below said level, it’s understandable that gravity makes no sense – so for instance, if a quark doesn’t bend space-time enough to bend light then its pointless to talk about gravity at this level.

16. Ruvian says:

Sarah Yuki,
I think the greatest math site is the Khan Academy.

17. Does it possible to calculate initial concentration if we don’t know the dilution factors? For example: the initial volume is 300 ml and then an unknown volume from the initial volume is diluted into 60 ml. If the final concentration is 2 gram/ml. What is the initial concentration?

18. Sachin says:

As i understand, as per General Relativity, Laws of physics should be same for accelerated and gravitational frames. If this is true wouldn’t an observer far removed from earth will see earth’s mass constantly increasing as “g” on earth would be equivalent to an frame accelerating at “g” thus constantly increasing its velocity and thus its mass(Special Theory of Relativity). Also earth’s time constantly dilating to a point where time nearly stands still on earth, as earth’s acceleration due to gravity “g” is been here for ages. This does not make sense. Where am i wrong here?

19. omega_sh says:

Every time I come back from space excursions, I feel so blessed to be on this blue planet. To watch how life has come into being, evolved.

20. Michael Barker says:

What is the correct answer to this problem? 9 or 1?

6/2(2 +1)

21. Doug says:

In response to The Physicist ( and Toomany )
A circle has two sides. An inside and an outside.

22. Him says:

Q: What happens to light at zero Kelvin?

23. Alan says:

I really need help on this: I have a set of 69 random numbers from 1-100, how many times will it take to subtract a set of five randomly selected numbers to end up with the same answer each time?

24. JackoWoods says:

This might be a silly question but even though I was really good at maths in high school I have never understood this (I know what to do but dont know why)

So let’s say that we know that 72% of X is 1.8 now the question is of what value is 72% 1.8?

This would be 0.72x=1.8
>x= 1.8/0.72
>x= 2.5

So the answer is that 72% of 2.5 is 1.8.

But when I start to think of it I can’t make sense of why we divide the 1.8 with 0.72. I know I have to do it but I don’t understand why.

Also the thought of dividing something with decimals only seems quite complicated when you start to think of it. Dividing something to 2, 3, 8 or 100 parts sounds simple but I just can’t understand what it would mean if you divide something with let’s say 0.46. I always imagine that for example if the value to be divided is 4 and we divide it with 2 we have 2 and 2. But when you divide it with 0.42 we no longer have this “evident separation”.