# Mathematics

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## About

**Mathematics** is the study of quantities, particularly as applied to concepts such as change. It is one of the oldest human academic disciplines and is occasionally described as a field of science, though the appropriateness of this label is debated. It is frequently referenced on the internet and has spawned many notable memes, most of which are based around either peculiarities found within mathematics, or the perceived difficulty of the subject itself.

## History and Background

The earliest human research relating to mathematics was into elementary arithmetic. According to Science Clarified,^{[2]} "mathematics undoubtedly began as an entirely practical activity--measuring fields, determining the volume of liquids, counting out coins, and the like."

Modern mathematics consists of several sub-fields and overlaps with other disciplines. Pure mathematics is generally thought to be comprised of number theory, algebra, analysis, and geometry; applied mathematics includes statistics and links to the physical sciences, particularly theoretical physics; finally, the study of the superstructure of mathematics itself, including fields such as metamathematics and mathematical logic, forms the link between modern mathematics and its roots in philosophy.

## Online History

On August 26th, 2014, the science-themed blog *I Fucking Love Science* published a compilation of GIFs explaining and demonstrating common concepts in mathematics,^{[1]} including Pascal's triangles, circle measure, and basic trigonometric functions (shown below).

Mathematics is a popular online discussion topic; multiple discussion forums are dedicated to it,^{[3]}^{[4]} as well as a section of the Q&A site Stack Exchange.^{[5]}

## Related Memes, Events, and Sites

#### Divide By Zero

**Division by zero** is considered an impossibility within mathematics, and hence any operation involving it is a mathematical error. "Divide by zero" is frequently used as a colloquial expression on the internet to describe impossible or paradoxical actions or occurrences.

#### Fractal Art

**Fractal Art** is a type of visual art in which an algorithm is used to design a fractal object. The fractal pattern uses a base shape that branches into reoccurring, but smaller instances of the same shape which are often shifted in color and spiral into themselves or branch outward.

#### #EdexcelMaths

**#EdexcelMaths** is a Twitter hashtag associated with various jokes and complaints regarding a perplexing statistics problem known as “Hannah’s sweets" which appeared in the United Kingdom’s General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) Math exam distributed by the Edexcel exam board in June 2015.

#### 48÷2(9+3) = ?

**48÷2(9+3) = ?** is an arithmetical mathematics problem that leads to two different answers -- either 288 or 2 -- depending on the order of operations used. It is typically employed as a method of trolling with the intention of inducing an argument.

#### 9 + 10 = 21

**9 + 10 = 21** refers to a video of a young boy giving an incorrect answer to a mathematics problem that was posted on Vine and quickly became a fad within the Vine community, later spreading to various other internet communities.

#### Ah, The Scalene Triangle

**Ah, The Scalene Triangle** is an expression associated with a video in which the narrator seductively repeats the phrase “ah, the scalene triangle” while zooming in on an illustration of the geometric figure.

#### LOLgraphs

**LOLgraphs** are statistical representations and visual aids typically designed to explain a wide range of non-academic and mostly trivial topics for humorous effect. In similar vein to Demotivational Posters, the format and concept of LOLgraphs has spread a unique genre of internet humor.

#### Pi Day

**Pi Day** is an international holiday observed annually in celebration of the Pi (π), one of the most well-known mathematical constants typically approximated as 3.14159, which corresponds to the calendar date March 14th in its numeric format (3/14). Online, the Pi Day is widely celebrated through discussions, homophonic wordplays, such as throwing or eating baked pies, and other creative interpretations of the irrational number.

#### Pi Symbol Trademark Controversy

**Pi Symbol Trademark Controversy** refers to the removal of several T-shirt designs bearing the mathematical constant “π” from online retailer, Zazzle, after being issued a cease-and-desist letter from a lawyer representing Paul Ingrisano, a New York City artist who obtained the trademark on the Greek letter, in May 2014.

#### Wolfram Alpha

**Wolfram Alpha** is a computational knowledge engine created by Wolfram Research, which provides answers to factual queries submitted by the user using vast amounts of curated computable data and semantic indexing of text. Outside of computational usage, the site became popular for their implementation of the "Fictional Character Curves" feature which attempted to recreate characters through graphical reconstruction and the "Image Identification Project" which attempted to identity the subject in any image submitted to the site.

#### xkcd

**xkcd** is a webcomic created by Randall Munroe, an ex-NASA robotics expert and programmer. The series’ main subject matter revolves around math, science, and Internet culture and features characters drawn as stick figures. Many of the comics feature graphs, charts, and statistical numbers as the basis for their jokes.

## Search Interest

## External References

^{[1]} IFLScience – 21 GIFs That Explain Mathematical Concepts

^{[2]} Science Clarified – Mathematics

^{[3]} The Math Forum @ Drexel – Discussion Categories

^{[4]} Science Forums – Mathematics

^{[5]} Stack Exchange – Mathematics

## Top Comments

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Sep 13, 2015 at 07:57AM EDT

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Sep 13, 2015 at 09:10AM EDT