Melvin’s back

One of my favourite radio shows, “In our time”, in which each week an expert panel debates the history of an idea, is back after the summer.

In the trailer for the series on BBC Radio 4, Melvyn says that this run they’re going to cover:

  • Pi
  • The Cambrian Explosion
  • The Odyssey
  • Agincore Agincourt (thanks, Nick…)
  • Gnosticism
  • Satre

UPDATE: The Melv is already back in the saddle with the first In Our Time newsletter of the season following up the programme on Pi:

“…here is a mnemonic which is very relevant:“How I want a drink – alcoholic, of course – after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics. One is, yes, adequate – even enough to produce some fun and pleasure – for an instant, miserably brief.”

Something to sing in the bath. This could be said to describe my state, but it is also a way in which you can remember the first 32 digits of pi. The number of letters in consecutive words gives the corresponding number in pi. Therefore, how=3, I=1, want=4, a=1, drink=5, alcoholic=9, etc until we get 3.141592653589793238462643 ad infinitum.

This was produced by Professor Kaplan but, alas, there was no time for it on the programme and, therefore, I offer it to all those of you who contribute to the first newsletter of the new season. I’m glad to be back with the programme and I hope you can remember this mnemonic for future reference.

Best wishes

Melvyn Bragg”

0 thoughts on “Melvin’s back

  1. Good to know someone else was waiting with baited breath for the return of the Melv. Thank goodness for Listen Again, though – there’s no way I can take in a discussion of Pi, or any of the other topics, at that time in the morning.

  2. It’s a fine mnemonic, though one that some of us don’t need. In a particularly geeky moment of my childhood, I learnt the first 115 numbers of pi at the age of 12. I can still get up to about 80 without any problems; I’m just biding my time, waiting for a particularly wild party in a maths department, to reveal my hidden talents. For then we shall be redeemed.

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