Jugglers who give me vertigo

Ronald_graham_jugglingRonald Graham

We all know that a lot of jugglers have a soft spot for mathematics (or is it the other way round?).

That’s why I wasn’t surprised, when reading an entry blog (in Spanish) about big numbers, to find out that two of the three numbers they mention were introduced by mathematician-jugglers.

This kind of numbers are so overwhelmingly big that thinking about them can give you mathematical vertigo.

The first one is Shannon number which is an estimate of the number of chess games possible. Claude Shannon was an amateur juggler and he is known for having built the first juggling robot and proving the first juggling-related theorems.

ShannonClaude Shannon

The other number is Graham’s number, a number calculated in 64 steps where each step grows much bigger than the previous and where the first step alone has more digits than the number of particles in the Universe!

It is named after Ronald Graham, mathematician, trampolinist, juggler and past president of the IJA.

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