Undeterred after three decades of looking, and with some assistance from a supercomputer, mathematicians have finally discovered a new example of a special integer called a Dedekind number.

Mathematics is full of formulas and theories that were developed without a specific application in mind, but later found to be incredibly useful in various fields. Here’s a list of some notable examples from ChatGPT :

Complex Numbers and Euler’s Formula: Initially seen as abstract and theoretical, they’re now fundamental in electrical engineering and quantum physics.

Fourier Transform: Originally developed for heat transfer problems, it’s now crucial in signal processing, image analysis, and quantum physics.

Non-Euclidean Geometry: Once considered purely theoretical, it’s essential in the theory of relativity and global positioning systems (GPS).

Group Theory: Developed as a part of abstract algebra, it’s now instrumental in physics, chemistry (especially crystallography), and cryptography.

Graph Theory: Originating from a recreational math problem, it’s now key in computer science, network analysis, and biology.

Number Theory: Initially pursued for its intellectual challenge, it’s fundamental in modern cryptography, like RSA encryption.

Calculus of Variations: Beginning as a mathematical curiosity, it’s now used in physics, economics, and engineering to solve optimization problems.

Riemannian Geometry: Originally abstract in nature, it’s crucial in general relativity and the description of spacetime.

Boolean Algebra: Developed from logic studies, it’s the backbone of digital circuit design and computer science.

Set Theory and Cantor’s Diagonal Argument: Seemingly abstract concepts, they’re now foundational in computer science and logic.

You’ve had a couple of pretty good responses. I would add that the very fact that you can ask that question demonstrates a failure of the education system and the fundamental problem of depending on business ideals to manage society.

In the first case, a proper education would have included, at all grade levels, examples and discussion of the various purely intellectual pursuits that ultimately proved critical to some technological advance that improved quality of life.

In the second case, the naive “businessification” of society means that any pursuit that doesn’t make clear at the outset what practical (ie profitable) goal is being pursued is dismissed as folly unworthy of funding and support and education. (See my point above.)

Is there a purpose to this, or is it just a bunch of math nerds justifying their college debts to themselves?

Like those physicists back in the day just playing around with useless toys messing with meaningless stuff like electricity and shit.

Mathematics is full of formulas and theories that were developed without a specific application in mind, but later found to be incredibly useful in various fields. Here’s a list of some notable examples from ChatGPT :

Complex Numbers and Euler’s Formula: Initially seen as abstract and theoretical, they’re now fundamental in electrical engineering and quantum physics.Fourier Transform: Originally developed for heat transfer problems, it’s now crucial in signal processing, image analysis, and quantum physics.Non-Euclidean Geometry: Once considered purely theoretical, it’s essential in the theory of relativity and global positioning systems (GPS).Group Theory: Developed as a part of abstract algebra, it’s now instrumental in physics, chemistry (especially crystallography), and cryptography.Graph Theory: Originating from a recreational math problem, it’s now key in computer science, network analysis, and biology.Number Theory: Initially pursued for its intellectual challenge, it’s fundamental in modern cryptography, like RSA encryption.Calculus of Variations: Beginning as a mathematical curiosity, it’s now used in physics, economics, and engineering to solve optimization problems.Riemannian Geometry: Originally abstract in nature, it’s crucial in general relativity and the description of spacetime.Boolean Algebra: Developed from logic studies, it’s the backbone of digital circuit design and computer science.Set Theory and Cantor’s Diagonal Argument: Seemingly abstract concepts, they’re now foundational in computer science and logic.Gotta love anti-intellectualism

Reminds me of an old ‘The Far Side Cartoon.’ A few cavemen sitting around a fire, and one standing off by himself.

“Pfft! Just another dumb fad.”

You’ve had a couple of pretty good responses. I would add that the very fact that you can ask that question demonstrates a failure of the education system and the fundamental problem of depending on business ideals to manage society.

In the first case, a proper education would have included, at all grade levels, examples and discussion of the various purely intellectual pursuits that ultimately proved critical to some technological advance that improved quality of life.

In the second case, the naive “businessification” of society means that any pursuit that doesn’t make clear at the outset what practical (ie profitable) goal is being pursued is dismissed as folly unworthy of funding and support and education. (See my point above.)

Math nerds don’t need to justify their college debt to themselves. The math alone was enough.

Everyone downvotes you, but you asked a valid question…

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