Monday, February 2, 2009

For Melissa

At the end of Chuck Lorre TV productions, these vanity cards appear briefly that he writes. The one at the end of Two and a Half Men tonight is one I'll definitely post as soon as it is on the site. This one is from The Big Bang Theory, which is one of my favorite shows. I just love Sheldon!

I have no clue what any of this means, but my brilliant daughter-in-law Melissa does. What about the rest of you? Anyone? Gorilla Boy, Frogponder's son, probably does, and her husband The Engineer perhaps? Who else?
There's a funny moment in tonight's episode where Sheldon gets stuck on a rock-climbing wall and remarks, "What part of an inverse tangent function approaching an asymptote don't you understand?" I thought it'd be helpful to take a moment and examine that joke. A linear asymptote is essentially a straight line to which a graphed curve moves closer and closer but does not reach. In other words, given a function y=fn(x) with asymptote A, A represents a number that, no matter how big (or, given the function, small) you make x, y will never make it to A. The particular example Sheldon quotes is the inverse Tangent function, or Arctangent, which has two asymptotes. If you graph it, it sort of looks like a horizontal S:

No matter how big you make x (that is, how far you move to the right), the function is never going to hit that top line (π/2), and no matter how small x gets (moving to the left), y is never going to be smaller than - π/2.

The more you know, the funnier it gets.

1st Aired: 19 January 2009

If you say so, Chuck. If you say so!


Berry Blog said...

boy am I glad to get that off my mind.

frogponder said...

Oh, dear, I think everybody in this house knows, even the dogs!! I'm so used to mathematical humbleness.

Perky Skeptic said...

YAY, math! :D Thanks for posting that!

Anonymous said...

The curve does meet the asymptote - at +/- infinity.

Joy said...

What is this kind of math? Calculus or something else I've never studied?

Mark in DE said...

I've never noticed them, despite the fact that I LOVE Big Bang Theory. Thanks for sharing!