What does this t-shirt say? And your answer can’t just be contextual–you have to know WHY!

(Morgan said nobody on my blog would understand the shirt. I said, “Just because I’m not good at math doesn’t mean the people who read my blog aren’t!” She’s good at math. She even likes math. I don’t know where she came from.)

Posted by Suzanne McMinn on September 19, 2011

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1:30

am

I LOVE MATH – the square root of -1 is an imaginary number, symbolized by lower case i.

Former math geek, a lifetime ago. It hasn’t changed that much, but I’m rusty!

geekette1:42

am

Haha! I get it – it’s “i” because the answer would be an imaginary number. And you can tell your son that I’m not very good at math, either. I just actually remembered something from my high school math class, 13 years ago. Thanks for that miracle! (And for your awesome blog!)

cellochick1:45

am

DAUGHTER! Sorry. (I’m so embarrassed! I guess I’m not very good at reading comprehension either. )

cellochick1:55

am

Oh boy, I’m first to make a fool of myself.

The shirt reads “i heart math” which the reader is supposed to interpret as “I love math.”

(YAY for Morgan. Great mathitude.)

Meaning:

The square of a number is the number times itself: 2 squared is 4, 3 squared is 9 etc.

The square root of a number, say 4, is a the number which times itself equals 4.

2 is the square root of 4, 3 is the square root of 9.

That being established, we come to square root -1.

Well, there is no *real* number times itself, which equals -1: 1 squared = 1; -1 squared = 1

Problem is, mathematicians cannot leave well enough alone.

Since they can write √-1 on the board, they need it to be equal to something.

So they arbitrarily defined √-1 as or – i.

That is, i squared = 1 and .-i squared = -1

i is an *imaginary* number….the mathheads figured they could get away with that.

Morgan: Good Try! Sorry to disappoint. There are teachers and text book writers who follow CITR. You’ll need to go further to stump us! In the meantime, you might enjoy: An Imaginary Tale: The Story of i [the square root of minus one], by Paul J Nahin.

bonita1:56

am

Well, clearly there were others up at this hour…when I started I was first…oh dear!

bonita1:58

am

eye sight fading!

That is, i squared = -1 and -i squared = -1

bonita6:27

am

I don’t know but now I have a headache, lol.

CATRAY447:04

am

Imaginary radicals heart (love) math

Windswept Farm7:05

am

Wow…a bunch of math brains! I am embarassed I had forgotten that, but it was over 50 years ago when I took math and geometry in high school. I did like it then, though.

Love the t-shirt, Morgan!

brookdale7:16

am

I was trying to figure it out when my 17 year old son walked past me and knew it right away. The square root of one is imaginary and the symbol of an imaginary number is i. He knows it all… did I mention he was 17… do you know a 17 year old that does not know it all???

GaPeach7:20

am

“i” love math. “i” is used in place of the square root of -1. Don’t get the idea that I am smart, I am just taking college algebra at WVSU this semester and we just went over this.

Teresa7:25

am

Nice try Morgan! I’m taking college algebra right now and I LOVE taht I know what that means!! Negatives under a radical are imaginary numbers…and I think I am (for the first time ever) starting to heart math too….

gaea3037:43

am

Great T shirt Morgan. Love it. Glad you like math too. Just got Alex a T shirt this week-end with a saying that some will like others may not. But it goes with our radical, rebel lifestyle LOL.

Angela P7:49

am

Math is not about problems, problems are BAD things.

Math is an infinite number of PUZZLES with solutions, with tools and clues that will help you solve them if you have enough knowledge to do so.

If you ♥ puzzles, you can ♥ math!

BuckeyeGirl8:33

am

yep, i or -i is the answer…unless you’re an electrical engineer then the answer would be “j heart math”. If you’re name is Jack or Jill…still would work!

AmyCook in WI8:47

am

I got it too, the square root of -1 is the symbole i. So i love math. I believe she does get that from you. Think how much math you use each day to make and create all the things you do. Our GGGGGREAT Grand MOTHERS USED MATH – we where told we did not need the education but working in the home to survive we most certianly did. think about making socks, baking bread etc. You are a proud mom, Great for her and you.

galagal8:48

am

Its an Imaginary number wich is represented by i…..Mr. Caldwell would be so proud of me.

BrownSheep8:48

am

Ah, is Morgan a Mental Floss fan as well?

i love math. The square root of -1 being infinity (i) and the heart for ‘love’

GA_in_GA8:52

am

Need more coffee!!!

i=imaginary not infinity!

GA_in_GA8:54

am

The answer is exactly why/when I quit liking math. I couldn’t understand why we needed to make something up (imaginary). Why couldn’t things just stay logical?

langela9:34

am

We may like chickens, and squee over pictures of goats eating cookies and the idea of making our own cheese. But that doesn’t mean we were born in a bucket and stayed there ;). A perfect equation since we are “imaginary” friends, right?

DancesInGarden9:46

am

Oh, teenagers never think that their parents and other “old folks” have any sense! I mean how we got to be as OLD as we are without any of the smarts that their kids have is a great mystery.

I really like the sweatshirt, though.

joykenn9:52

am

Impressive!!! I had no clue! I was a ” I heart reading and history” kind of girl!

cabynfevr10:32

am

I’m with cabynfevr! Anything more mathish than counting causes me to start sobbing and curl up in the fetal position. You go, Morgan! The world needs more female math geeks!

City Kid in St. Paul12:09

pm

You know, officially it is “

ilove MATH”.I am not sure html is acceptable!

And yep, it is

jin myimaginaryworld.EightPondFarm2:04

pm

Just say no to math. I am terrible at it but do multi million dollar budgets for research proposals. I am good with a calculator and formulas though :). Can’t add 2 + 2 without my calculator.

CarrieJ2:26

pm

I confess. Umpteen years ago I hated math, was terrible in math, and have forgotten most of the little I managed to learn in math back then. Thanks to Morgan, at the age of 62 I’ve learned a new math tidbit. So… the answer is… what they said. i love (heart) math.

Vicki in So. CA3:45

pm

Guess what! I had this back before I grad. in 1941. Do it anyway you care – – it still comes out math.

MMHoney4:09

pm

So while a novel play on symbols, it flunks use of the English language (perhaps Latin as well) because a lower case italicized i is not exactly a first person preposition?? (Teehee.)

So actually what it says is that an imaginary concept hearts math? Or does math heart imaginary concepts? Or does math really only heart absolute concepts? Maybe only as they relate to quantum physics. Or maybe only in the physical rather than the theoretical world…

(Morgon! You gotta admit that you asked for it!! Never let it be said that bfc’s cannot rise to the occasion.)

Here. Have a theorum.

Pete6:08

pm

I had to ask our admin, but he said, “The square root of negative one is “i”, so the t-shirt says I love math”

I work at a CPA firm as the Director of Operations, so fully appreciate those with mad math skills, but don’t always understand them

Tracy6:15

pm

the square root of negative one =I …….

so ” I love math”

Chickenlady628:47

pm

The square root of negative one is an irrational number which is represented by the letter I, therefore I love math.

LisaAJB8:49

pm

ITS NOT AN IMAGINARY NUMBER, it’s an irrational number. Sorry, I had to get that off my chest.

LisaAJB8:59

pm

Ack, I was wrong and you all were right. Narrational numbers are the decimals that never end. Sorry

LisaAJB12:48

am

my brain hurts from reading all these posts! I think I’ll go look for some of the botany or biology posts, and maybe it’ll quit hurting so much! LOL!!

Donna4:39

am

cool t-shirt want one for myself. where can i get one?

piter1:05

pm

She got the shirt at Books-A-Million.

Suzanne McMinn8:35

pm

I am glad there were people who figured this out. I am married to a middle school Algebra teacher who in his late 30s tutored his college classmates in all things math (Trig, Geometry, etc.), so I don’t even try to keep up with this sort of thing. I do beat him at simple math sometimes though – he applies a formula to prove his answer – I just do it the easy way and don’t worry about the proof.

STracer8:12

pm

I love that shirt! Too cute…now that explains why we have to do some math to sign up for blog.

Audrey324