Imagine if you could see numbers – not by visualising digits or by counting, but as shapes?
On the CBS program 60 Minutes in 2012, American child prodigy Jake Barnett showed viewers his number system that re-worked the base-10 system used by most of the world.
In the video above from Numberphile, mathematician Simon Pampena explains how Barnett nutted it out.
Pampena says Barnett uses the points of triangles to group large numbers into its primes – a method called “prime decomposition”.
The process is a fascinating insight into how numbers aren’t rigid, but can be reimagined, “taking what we learned at school and having fun with it”.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.