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I was excited yesterday when I read about the brightest observed supernova on Ars Technica. Later when I read some more about it on CNN, I noticed they had talked to Mario Livio. That name rung a bell, and not just because I have a slightly more than casual interest in astrophyics, cosmology, and mathematics. He also wrote a book that I read recently about the number phi (1.6180339887...), better known as the Golden Ratio. Its appearance everywhere in nature and mathematics and the story of its discovery, use, and misuse is really quite amazing, especially considering the wide variety of places it pops up. Livio argues that's its more important than well-recognized numbers like e and pi. I suppose that depends on your field. As an EE, I have to say that e and pi have been a lot more useful to me (besides just on license plates) than phi, though certainly phi might be more interesting. In any case, I was excited by the fact that I read and understood a book by an astrophysicist (and one somewhat less well-known than Dr. Hawking) that was interviewed by CNN about something as amazing as the brightest supernova ever observed by us.

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  • I'm Rev. Adam
  • From Oakton, Virginia, United States
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