Home > Math Lint Archive Detail

<< Prev 10/3/2010 Next >>

2+2=4?

Have you ever read anything by Greg Egan, an Australian science fiction author? He often specializes in science fiction with mathematical themes.

An example is his short story "Luminous" (1995) in the collective book by the same name.

The story focuses on two American mathematicians brought to Shanghai to secretly run a simulation on a new laser computer known as Luminous. It supposedly is the only machine powerful enough to handle the large-number calculations they believe necessary to expose a logical flaw in the basic rules of mathematics....where a statement can be true and false at the same time. If successful, the researchers will have proven that the fundamental nature of our universe and its counterpart universe represented by theoretical mathematics, may be on a collision course for mathematical supremacy!

As simulations are run that use integer-values greater than the number of particles in the universe, the researchers discover that 2 + 2 actually does not equal 4...thus...

Darn...now I have to go back and give Stu Dent partial credit for a problem on a skills test taken many years ago....