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Infinite Series Recap

The Numberphile video "ASTOUNDING: 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 +... = -1/12" has gone viral, garnered coverage in the New York Times, and spurred discussion about the extent to which scientists should simplify complexity in the interests of engaging the public imagination.

As noted in the January 30 Math in the News, Phil Plait of Slate's "Bad Astronomy" blog wrote not one but two posts about the Numberphile video, with the follow-up necessitated by the outpouring of objections prompted by his initial effort. In early February, Dennis Overbye's "In the End, It All Adds Up to -1/12" brought New York Times readers up to date on the dialogue the short sparked amongst physicists, mathematicians, and popularizers of these disciplines. Physics Today also weighed in.

It remains to be seen whether and how Numberphile, made possible by support from the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI), will respond to all the chatter.

Start Date: 
Friday, February 21, 2014