Is the Universe a Number?

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October 07, 2017

For centuries, mathematicians have been looking for the deep design, the mathematical code to explain everything from microorganisms to spacetime. But it’s a dangerous quest.

We’ll meet a mathematician who got lost in the numerical mysteries of the Kabbalah. And, we’ll discover the underlying structure of the universe through crochet.


Plastic crochet corals from the "Crochet Coral Reef" project by Christine and Margaret Wertheim and the Institute For Figuring.

What if the geometric structure of the universe has been hidden, for centuries, in crochet? Margaret Wertheim can help you get there with a ball of wool, a crochet hook, and some non-Euclidean geometry.

Torah and jad - exhibits in Big Synagogue Museum, Wlodawa - Poland. (CC BY 2.5)

The story of one famous mathematician’s obsession with the ancient and mystical and numerical world of the Kabbalah, from Shlomo Maital of the podcast "Israel Story."

The beauty of nature.

Frank Wilczek is a Nobel Prize-winning physicist at MIT. He's kind of obsessed, in his own way, with understanding the universe. Specifically, he’s interested in what he calls “the beautiful question." Is the universe naturally, inherently beautiful?

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October 07, 2017
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Last modified: 
February 15, 2022