- We love these sports movies…but we really shouldn’t
- The religious discrimination bill doesn’t protect the religious, it rewards them
- Someone once told me that a boring life was a happy life (and they were right)
- Government slashes growth and surplus in budget update
- Science makes baldness optional (if you can afford it)
We sat down with writer, comedian and unabashed nerd Adam Spencer to discuss his new book, World of Numbers, and his chivalric defence of prime numbers.
TBS: What do you think is the key factor in you ending up where you are today career-wise?
AS: Remarkable serendipity. I was doing a pure maths PHD when Triple J ran their first ever raw comedy search. The standard was terrible. So I won! Met them and left academia for a career in whatever it is that I do.
TBS: Who do you consider the most intriguing public figure to watch at the moment?
AS: Rugby Union star David Pocock’s ability to stay on his feet at the breakdown and win that crucial ball, whilst signing a letter demanding a moratorium on new coal mines in Australia is pretty hard to top.
TBS: What is the worst way for a person to try and get your attention on social media?
AS: By saying demeaning things about prime numbers, chess or the Sydney Swans!
TBS: If you could determine the exact influence you have on a young person, what do you hope she or he would gain from observing you?
AS: For a start, I’d be very uncomfortable with the quantum implications of my being able to determine the exact influence I have on anyone. Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle alone would suggest I could only be confident of my influence within a range.
But that aside, if a few years from now I meet some young professional biostatisticians or computer coders who say they really got excited by my World of Numbers and sought out a science career, I’ll consider my job done.
TBS: What advice would you give a 15-year-old Adam Spencer?
AS: Strap yourself in nerd boy, it’s going to get pretty exciting in a couple of years.
TBS: What is your most annoying trait?
AS: I last relaxed in 2007 – for about 15 minutes – got stressed out that I hadn’t done anything for a quarter of an hour.
TBS: What is the one gift you will pretty much always re-gift?
AS: Sarcasm – I return it with interest.
TBS: What is your favourite inspirational quote or person, as cliché as it may be?
AS: “E = mc squared.” That one simple sentence can say so much about the universe in which we live still staggers me.
TBS: What do you want people to get out of reading your new book, World of Numbers?
AS: For trivia lovers, it’s just a tsunami of bizarre hilarious information – a box jellyfish has 24 eyes on the inside of its head so it has 360 degree vision from looking back through it’s hollow skull! – and for the mathematically minded, it’s a really fun workout for your grey matter. Something for every(nerd).
You can buy Adam Spencer’s book, World of Numbers, and get a signed copy here.