One Thousand and One Blog Posts

Because evolution has given human beings ten fingers, most of the time, we use a ten based positional value number system, in which the positions are powers of ten. This also means that we have a strong tendency to note, to acknowledge and even to celebrate the points when lists or collections reach multiples or powers of ten. For example, we tend to think that somebody’s fortieth birthday is more significant than their thirty-ninth or forty-first. We also make a big deal with major celebrations when something reaches a ten to the power of two, that is a hundredth, anniversary and even more of a big deal by a ten to the power of three, that is a thousandth, anniversary. The only real exception to this, are legal anniversaries, coming of age for example, or multiples of twenty-five because these are viewed as the significant fractions of one hundred, one quarter, one half, etc.

Because I call myself a history of science storyteller, I have decided instead to borrow the title of what is perhaps the most famous collection of stories or tales, One Thousand and One Nights, and celebrate instead of the thousandth, the one thousand and first Renaissance Mathematicus blog post.


Having actually written the last sentence, I have to take a deep breath, have I really written one thousand blog posts? Is this really the one thousand and first? The answer to both questions is, according to the WordPress statistics for this blog, a definitive yes, although I don’t quite really believe it. As I have pointed out previously, although I have posted one thousand posts here, I didn’t actually write all of them, as several of them were guest posts. However, I have written more guest posts for other peoples’ blogs than there are guest posts here, so yes, I have actually written more than one thousand blog posts.

As I have also pointed out in the past, because I suffer from both adult AD(H)D and dysgraphia, I was functionally analphabet for most of my life, literally too scared to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. I started this blog as personal therapy to help myself to overcome that fear and teach myself to write; in this I think I have succeeded.

There was, however, a second reason or, better said, motivation for beginning this journey into the written word. I had spent the best part of half a century absorbing, contemplating and trying to apprehend the histories of mathematics and the mathematical sciences. I even spent ten years at university studying them. During that time, I had formulated my own ideas about numerous aspects of those histories and blogging would supply me with a medium to express those ideas in public if only to a very limited public. You might say, it was opening a safety valve to reduce the accumulated pressure. A sort of intellectual Primal Scream therapy.

Now, I didn’t just sit down, turn on the metaphorical tap in my brain and pour out finished history of science copy. When I conceive a potential theme for a blog post, I set out to refresh and to extend my knowledge of the topic in question, so writing this blog also became a learning process for me. Conceiving, researching and writing approximately fifteen hundred words on a history of science topic once a week is as good as any university education.

What I’m now going to say is one of the biggest clichés in the history of human thought, but clichés are very often clichés simply because they are true. The more that I have learnt over the years, writing this blog, the more I become aware of how little I actually know. Knowledge is a vast ocean and at best I have dabbled my toes in the ripples on one of its shores. The compulsion to maybe one day be able to swim in that ocean is what keeps me going. I don’t know where that compulsion comes from, it has simply always been there.


A desire to plunge right in

To close, I would just like to thank all of those who have been along for the ride. As I have stated in the past, I don’t write for you or anybody else, for that matter, I write for myself but I am truly grateful for the fact that you find my scribblings worth reading.


Filed under Autobiographical

19 responses to “One Thousand and One Blog Posts

  1. laura

    Congrats Thony!

  2. Tony Angel

    Congratulations. I allways look forward to your posts. On numbers as far as I remember Germans like repetitive numbers, so 11,22,33,44,55,66,77,88 and 99th birthdays are special.

  3. timoneill007

    Congratulations on a remarkable milestone mate. Here’s to the next 1000.

  4. Long may it continue, Thony. In a world where so many researchers in the history of science seems to have very little interest in actual science, your posts are always a refreshing read.

  5. betopimentel

    A great thing you decided to start this blog, and this kilometerstone (sorry, I am metric by nature) is a tribute to how relevant it became for so many of us out here. Please keep typing and let the 10.001th come! 🙂 Parabéns!

  6. Val Baliy

    I look forward to your ‘scribblings’ as often as you wish to impart them. Thank you for the enlightenment.

  7. “Knowledge is a vast ocean and at best I have dabbled my toes in the ripples on one of its shores.”

    ‘I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
    Isaac Newton, From Brewster, Memoirs of Newton (1855)
    English mathematician & physicist (1642 – 1727)’

    Consider yourself a true follower of Newton, Thony

  8. I am grateful for RM. Reading/thinking hist.phil.SciTechMed is a chief pleasure, your take is highly congenial, and your writing pours into my mind without a riffle. Plus – in academia I vaguely recognized others were gliding along rails, while I had not quite conceived of a train; several decades on, I have progressed from a first nervous comment to guest posts. The obstacles may overlap a bit; the treasured take-away is a present proof that something done for its own sake may also give value to others – a pattern I see often, but at a distance, in science and art. Thank you.

  9. Congratulations, Thony. Here’s to the next 1,001 posts.

  10. Todd Timberlake

    Keep up the great work, for yourself and, as a fringe benefit, for those of us who enjoy reading what you write!

  11. Jeff Rubinoff

    Congrats, Thony! I have always enjoyed your blog trememdously.

  12. James Harrison

    Impressive. Congrats. The 1,001 meme gives me an excuse to mention the conversation I overheard in the garden of my favorite coffee bar. A twenty-something woman was telling her friend how her fiancé was promising her an Arabian Night’s honeymoon, It isn’t just Galileo that people don’t get right.

  13. Congratulations, Thony! I have very much enjoyed your blog, and learned a lot from it.

  14. Walter Hehl

    Congratulations, Thony! You are a source of “geistreichen*” thoughts and of great language, both from a content view and from the aspect of enjoying your unreachable English.

    * “geistreich” means literally “rich in esprit”

  15. A truly heart felt thank you for all the nice comments on my reaching this mile stone. On a historical note, it is in the true meaning of the the word a “mile” stone, as the word mile is derived from the Latin “Mille” meaning one thousand and is short for one thousand paces, the length of the Roman mile 😎

    • When I play the physicist and calculate (Roman soldiers were small-sized men on the average, probably resulting in 800 meters), there must have been a recalibration? Nasty question

      • My Latin teacher said that a “pace” was two steps: left, right. It was1000 of those which made up a mile. Considering that the soldiers weren’t that tall, as you say, and that they were walking with quite heavy kit, that sounds about right.

  16. tcbmcleish

    Congratulations Thony – and a heartfelt thanks. There are VERY few blogs that I follow every episode of, and yours is one and the longest-standing in my email reminder list. My regular course in the History of Science, and a reason for every increasing respect for the large and connected community over the centuries that have given us the place of understanding we occupy now. May we use it wisely!

  17. Anders Ehrnberg

    1000 and one thanks for all the good work
    Anders Eg

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s