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What does this line of Isaac Newton's rap video mean?

  1. Dec 11, 2014 #1
    Go to 1:24 of this video:

    He recalls some integral he wrote at a young age:

    " ... times the sixty-fourth power of .... what????" and looks confused. At 1:44 Neil Degrasse Tyson says, "By the way, the answer to your little calculation is i."

    Can someone explain the historical reference to me? Was there some integral that Sir Isaac Newton could never solve?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 11, 2014 #2
    The integral sec y dy from zero to one-sixth of pi is log to base e of the square root of three times the sixty-fourth power of what?!


    (While the concept of imaginary numbers and i existed during Newton's time, he and other great thinkers of the time (such as René Descartes, that later solved the equation with "Descartes' i") dismissed the idea of imaginary numbers as fanciful. Thus, despite his best powers of deduction, Newton was stymied by the equation he wrote and thought it unsolvable.)

    This also comes from a calculus limerick which reads similar to Newton's line:

    "The integral sec y dy (pronounced "seek y dee y'")
    From zero to one-sixth of pi
    Is log to base e
    Of the square root of three
    Times the 64th power of

  4. Dec 11, 2014 #3
  5. Oct 5, 2015 #4
    I have the book in which this is written in but I can't find what section
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