Nobel Prize or noble life?

Published 7:46 pm Tuesday, November 12, 2019

LaGrange resident

I’ve always thought that it would be totally cool to discover a mathematical constant. Everyone knows that the circumference of a circle divided by the diameter of a circle equals the constant, “pi.”

Amedeo Avogadro discovered a mathematical constant related to the number of particles in a mole. The natural log “e”, like pi, an irrational constant, represents the area under the curve y=1/x. I really want to come up with one of my own. It wouldn’t have to be immediately recognized. I could take satisfaction from a posthumous Nobel Prize.

My first idea was a variable constant I call “beta” (for “balance”). You may think the phrase “variable constant” to be an oxymoron, but if the government can have “alternative facts”, then I can a variable constant. “Beta” represents the amount of money two accounting ledgers – for instance, your checkbook and the bank statement – are out of balance. You could spend three hours trying to find that missing $20.16, or you could just simply add beta to your checkbook and voila everything is immediately back in balance. I’m sure CPAs and other professional accountants will grumble about GAAP standards and voodoo math, but hey, Galileo wasn’t popular in his day, either. 

Another idea I have is the “decision-making constant.” Simply put it says that however long it takes for one person to make a decision, it takes that time to the power of the “number of people involved,” when multiple people are making a decision. 

So, if one person could decide on where to go eat in three minutes, it will take two people three to the second power, or nine minutes. It will take three people three to the third, or 27 minutes. And if five people are involved in making the decision, you might as well just break out the peanut butter and Wonder bread, because you aren’t ever going to see the inside of a restaurant. 

My last mathematical theorem is the “grandparent age.” This theoretical age is a simple average defined by (age of grandparent plus age of grandchild) divided by two. 

When I play with my six-year-old granddaughter, my grandparent age becomes 34, 62 plus six divided by two). Because my grandparent age is 34, it means I can ignore all those achy joints and inflexible muscles. I can get down on the floor and build castles, go on nature walks, play soccer, hurtle down the slip-and-slide, give piggy back rides and still have intellectual curiosity about the adventures of Judy B. Jones. When I’m in grandparent age, I don’t think about do-nothing politicians, or what the Dow Jones average is doing, or whether or not my hedges need trimmed. I just think about a perfect little part of me that will be making the world a better place long after I’m gone. 

I’m pretty fortunate to have the family I have. 

I guess I don’t really need a Nobel prize. I’ve already got most everything I could ever hope for.