Thursday, August 18, 2005

Polly Knows Me, Al

Or other lessons in calculus, which I never took. And as you can probably guess, I didn't take a class in puns, either.

Today is the birthday of Brook Taylor (he'd be 320 today, but let's face it, he never took care of himself well enough to live that long). Taylor is a mathematician who discovered Taylor's Theorem, which states, "A discoverer and his theorem shall share the same name." Prior to Taylor's discovery, people had to struggle through things like "Smith's Theorem by Myron Lifschitz" and "Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula."

Taylor's theorem gives the approximation of a differentiable function near a point by a polynomial whose coefficients depend only on the derivatives of the function at that point. There's even more to it than that, but there's no Google translator for math, so I don't understand it even well enough to make a joke. Hey you, over there, wake up, no sleeping through the math funnies.


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