A Beautiful Mind

John Forbes Nash Jr. is the only person to have won both the Nobel Prize (Economics) and the Abel Prize (the equivalent of a Nobel Prize in the world of mathematics). Nash made fundamental contributions to mathematics, providing major insights into the role of chance and decision-making within complex systems – many found in our everyday lives. In 1959, symptoms of schizophrenia began to emerge and he spent several years being treated in psychiatric institutions. While he was able to return to academic life, the struggle with his illness and is battle to overcome it was the subject of a biography written by Sylvia Nasar’s, which subsequently became a major motion picture bearing the same title “A Beautiful Mind.” Sadly, Nash and his wife Alicia were killed in a car crash (a taxi in which they were riding) in 2015.

Nobel and Abel

Who is the only person to have won both the Nobel Prize and the Abel Prize?

The Sun Gets Around

By initially observing the movement of sunspots, scientist concluded that the Sun does rotate, but because the Sun is made up of gaseous elements and is not solid, the rotation is uneven. The rotations at the equator is about once in a little over 25 days, but at the poles about 36 days and varying in between. The Sun is also tilted on its axis of rotation (relative to the Earth and our point of view). But never look directly at the Sun without special protection for your eyes.

Our Sun

The planets in our Solar System rotate, but does the Sun rotate?

Over, But Not Out

The term 10-4, like many other codes, refers to a distinctive communication lingo adopted by users of Citizens’Band (CB) radio – primarily among truckers hauling freight in the United States throughout the 1970s and 80s.

The code 10-6 means I’m busy at the moment, but stand by and 10-13 is a request to get information about the weather and road conditions. When a CB radio message asks ‘what’s your 10-20?’ they are asking for your location – where are you?


“10-4” is the common communication response acknowledging receipt of a message and signing off at the end of a radio transmission.
Do you know where it comes from or what 10-6 or 10-13 or 10-20 means?

The First Historian

Thycydides is considered by many to be the first “true historian”, noted for using a fact-based scientific approach to recounting events, free of rumours and myths.

Fathom That

In Samuel Clemens’s book, Life on the Mississippi, he explains that he took the pseudonym from the senior riverboat captain Isaiah Sellers, who would take note of practical information about the river, and would sign them “MARK TWAIN.”   Clemens subsequently wrote these were published – with some of Mr. Seller’s descriptive phrases – by a local newspaper (although historians have been unable to actually confirm the truth of Clemens’ assertions). What is known, is that Clemens wrote a parody and published it in another New Orleans newspaper, the New Orleans Daily Crescent.  According to Clemens, Sellers was so upset that not only did he never again submit his  notes for publication, but he never signed ‘Mark Twain’ to anything again.  ‘Mark Twain’ also happens to be the term used by riverboat captains and crew for water that is two fathoms (12 feet) deep – important information for a steamboat, since it can mean the difference between safe passage or being trapped or worse: sunk in shallow water.

Never the Twain Shall Meet

Although Samuel Clemens’s earliest use of the pseudonym Mark Twain was in February 1863 in the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise, how he chose that name is still uncertain.  Any ideas?