Dr Who’s Happy Primes

Saturday 19 May 2007 at 8:34 pm | In Articles | 1 Comment

It’s so nice to see mathematics playing an important part in popular television. In tonight’s Dr Who the spaceship crew had to find the next number in the sequence 313, 331, 367, …. Dr Who recognises this as a sequence of happy primes with the next one being 379. It’s all explained at that Wikipedia article and a longer version of the sequence can be found at the wonderful The On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences.

It’s interesting that the Dr Who reference was put in the Wikipedia article half-an-hour before the programme was aired so probably an inside job. I was delighted that in the programme Dr Who asked if mathematics was so dumbed down that recreational maths wasn’t studied any more. As Russell T. Davies, the head writer, said in tonight’s Dr Who Confidential, the programme reflects current concerns, so this problem has clearly reached a wider audience than I imagined was the case.

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  1. [...] that are undecided plus the margin of error (not to be confused with the Keith Number–don’t they teach recreational mathematics anymore?). If the Keith Number had been in play before New Hampshire, the pundits might not have been able [...]

    Pingback by The Real Keith Number « TV BACON — Tuesday 5 February 2008 1:28 am #

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