Dec 29, 2023


Karim Ani dedicated his life to math. He studied it in school, got a degree in math education, even founded Citizen Math to teach it to kids in a whole new way. But, this whole time, his whole life, almost, he had this question nagging at him.

The question came in the form of a rule in math, NEVER divide by zero. But, why not?

Cornell mathematician, and friend of the show, Steve Strogatz, chimes in with the historical context, citing examples of previous provocateurs looking to break the rules of math. And he offers Karim a warning,

“In math we have creative freedom, we can do anything we want, as long as it’s logical.”

Listen along as Karim’s thought exercise becomes an existential quest, taking us with him, as he delves deeper, and deeper, into Zeroworld.

Reported by - Lulu Miller
Produced by - Matthew Kielty
with help from - Ekedi Fausther-Keeys, Alyssa Jeong Perry
Original music and sound design contributed by - Matthew Kielty
with mixing help from - Arianne Wack
Fact-checking by - Diane Kelly
and Edited by - Pat Walters

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Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

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