Wednesday, September 30, 2009

N - Search for the phoniest formula

Newspapers often feature mathematical formulas that purport to calculate the perfect biscuit, the perfect marriage, the perfect joke, and so on, complains the science writer Simon Singh in the Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/sep/02/perfect-formula-festival-science). These pseudoequations are usually thinly veiled public relations activity, which "demeans mathematics and science by giving the impression that academics waste their time on frivolous topics and are willing to come up with the appropriate answer if someone is prepared to pay them enough money." Singh is looking for the most appalling equation to appear in the UK national press in the next year—email articles to voys@senseaboutscience.org. See www.apathysketchpad.com/blog/2008/06/21/the-perfect-formula/

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