# Do Numbers Really Exist?

Here’s a nice, simple topic for first thing on a Friday morning: do numbers really exist? Well, do they?

Here’s a nice, simple topic for first thing on a Friday morning: do numbers really exist? Well, do they?

Most people will probably remember the times tables from primary school quizzes. There might be patterns in some of them (the simple doubling of the 2 times table) but others you just learnt by rote. And it was never quite clear just why it was necessary to know what 7 x 9 is off the top of your head.

The practice of pricing fuel with a fraction of a penny is thought to have started around the 1930s. While we can’t be sure who was the first to price fuel this way, it seems to have become relatively commonplace across the United States all the sudden around the same time. So what happened? In short- taxes and the…

The digital world runs on binary. But while numbers made up of ones and zeroes is easy enough to get your head round, what happens when you need to express a negative number in digital form?

The Field medal is mathematics' answer to the Nobel Prize, and this year's winners have just been announced. Amongst them is Manjul Bhargava, one of the youngest people to be made a full professor at Princeton University, aged 28, whose work is inspired by... the Rubik's Cube?

Imagine that you have the ability to know how many times people lied in their life. Or how many days they will live just by looking at a number displayed on the top of their heads. That's the premise of this mind-twisting short film by Robert Hloz: Two people with that rare ability meet randomly on the street.

Here's a fun little brain wrinkle pinch for all you non-math people out there (that should be everyone in the world*): the sum of all natural numbers, from one to infinity, is not a ridiculously big number like you would expect but actually just -1/12. Yes, the sum of every number from one to infinity is some weird…

Martin Krzywinski is an artist. No, wait, he's a mathematician. Actually, scratch that: he's both, and he can make the number Pi look insanely beautiful.