Who Can Name A Cyclone?

Do you know whether the weather is right? Jim Richardson probably does and he might text you about it if you’re lucky. Today we are talking forecasting with a maths nerd who took his knowledge of obscure equations to the Bureau of Meteorology.



Particle Podcast is about science and the people who just love it. It’s produced and presented by Rose Kerr (@rosie.zkerr). Particle is powered by Scitech, and you can tweet us your cyclone name suggestions at @ParticleWA on Twitter and Instagram.


who can name a cyclone?

  • Host: Rose Kerr
  • Guest: Jim Richardson

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Rose Kerr – Welcome to the Particle Podcast where we talk about science and the people who just love it. My name is Rose and I am so bad at interpreting the weather, that my washing almost always gets wet in the rain. Luckily, people like Jim Richardson are here to help. Jim is a math nerd and forecasting whiz, who works at the Bureau of Meteorology. We had a chat about naming cyclones and his favorite equations.

Welcome to the podcast. Jim.

Jim Richardson – Thanks very much Rose. Good to be here.

Rose Kerr – So, the first question I always need to ask is, what do you actually do?

Jim Richardson – So I work for the Bureau of Meteorology. So most of my background there is weather forecasting. So lots of different areas in weather forecasting, kind of more than I would have thought before I joined the bureau. So we have people that work doing aviation forecasts, we have public weather forecasts as well. And we also have forecasts for industry as well. So a lot of that sort of Northwest shelf in wha and parts of Queensland have specific forecasts for their sort of operations in those areas too. So, yeah, lots of different areas. So most of my background is, is in forecasting, but recently I’ve been doing a bit more sort of project work on those energy and resources areas that I mentioned before.

Rose Kerr – Why do those areas need different forecasts?

Jim Richardson – Yeah, so I guess a lot of the operations are offshore from the Pilbara. So they’re impacted by winds and seas. Sometimes if the seas and the waves are too high, they won’t be able to complete various operations. And I guess the elephant in the room is the tropical cyclones as well. That’s probably the major major impacts for them. So you know, high winds, high seas. Yeah, it can it can mean that they’ll need to act accordingly and, you know, potentially evacuate and stuff like that. So it’s it’s it’s also a bit of a safety issue as well.

Rose Kerr – Yeah. Okay. It’s definitely different needs perhaps to just your local Perth weather.

Jim Richardson – Yeah, exactly. And also even even up there, it’s a little bit different as well. Often in the public, we’re most interested in the wind, you know, most people live on the land. So they care about the wind, and they’ll care about the coastal sort of impacts as well, but they won’t really care if somewhere offshore gets up to, you know, five meters or something that’s not really sort of, yeah, that’s more sort of industry, I guess. So yeah, different different needs, means different forecasts. And kind of more specific forecasts as well. The other thing we do for them, which I find pretty interesting is like long period swells as well. So if you look on the public weather forecasts, they’ll be a seas and there’ll be a swell in the coastal waters, but we do like a much more detailed version of that. So we’ll have like three or four different long periods swell. So these are really interesting because they’re generated, like, really far away, they’re generated down, you know, in Africa, like near Africa, by weather systems down there. And then they move all the way up, you know, to the northeast, up to the Pilbara and affect people’s operations there. So, we’ll actually separate them out into you know, there’s this swell this this swell that that comes through on at this time from this system three days ago. And then there’s this at the same time, there’s like three other different swell trends. So very, very specific kind of long period stuff, which is actually really interesting.

Rose Kerr – I just, this is gonna be probably the most basic question you can ask, but how does forecasting actually work? Like how do you know that there’s those deep swells all the way offshore, like, how does it work?

Jim Richardson – Yeah, it’s a good question. So though that’s those swells in particular, that’s kind of like a met course type thing. So we know about them from science and from physics and stuff like that. Our job ultimately is to produce a forecast. The tools we have to do that are like, numerical model guidance. So we have weather models that we tell it, what the observations are, it knows how physics works. So it It runs forward with, you know, general physics rules to create winds and stuff like that. And then, from that, we get out sort of some guidance on what might what might be happening. When I was first learning it. It was very difficult because I have a lot of the people teaching me would just like ‘yeah, you just just put that in, just put this in’ and, and it was, um, that was one of the things that I was most surprised about with forecasting is that it’s very scientific. But the reason humans are good at it is this pattern recognition. You can’t always explain what the pattern recognition is, just the difference between an experienced forecaster and a non-experienced forecaster is just they’ve seen more of these patterns, and they can recognize them, but they can’t always say, you know, this is this is the (laughs) the reason behind what I’m doing. I had one example actually when I was I was doing aviation forecasting. So I had a night shift and had some showers forecast for an airport. And I said, “Oh, look, I think they’re going to come in at this time,” and had all these reasons why I thought that I’d looked at the radar. You know, I timed it on the radar and I timed it on the weather guidance as well and the experienced forecaster was like “oh, it’ll probably be in a few hours later than that.” And like he, like, just looked at the loop. And that’s it. And he ended up being right. But like, it was just funny because I had all these reasons why, and he didn’t have any reasons other than hit that he’s just seen that pattern and it just went “Yeah, it’s probably gonna be a few hours later,” so yeah, it’s it’s, it’s interesting how it works like that.

Rose Kerr – That’s crazy. That’s interesting, because one of the questions that we wanted to ask was, like, could a computer do your job, but you’ve kind of answered that. There’s something human in interpreting it.

Jim Richardson – Yeah, yes and no. I guess it kind of depends how good a job you want to do. So the computer does a pretty good job. And then we kind of put the finishing touches on it. I guess. The other area that’s pretty interesting is machine learning. So I think that’s, that’s sort of getting a machine to do what I’ve talked about. So we’re quite good at pattern recognition. But so is machine learning. So you get an algorithm and you give it a bunch of data, the bunch of different patterns from years and years of data. And then you give it the numerical guidance. You give it the current observations, and then you let let it make a forecast. So yeah, I think that’s, that’s probably gonna be improved models and improved machine learning is probably going to be the future.

Rose Kerr – Are you worried that a robot’s gonna take your job?

Jim Richardson – (laughs) I think I’d be lying. If I said no, I think every every person in the bureau has thought about that for sure. I think it’s probably more of a transition to communication. I think there’s, I think there’s still a lot of work to be done with communication. So basically, we’ve got the forecast. And now we’re explaining what that means to people. So yeah, there’s there’s a lot of different people that use the forecast for a lot of different reasons, and they are interested in different thresholds and stuff like that, so giving them briefings on that, and then also communicating the uncertainty as well. That’s probably, I think, with forecasting, there’s always going to be uncertainty. So being able to communicate that is probably what our jobs will be, at some point in the future.

Rose Kerr – Yeah. And sometimes if it’s, you know, a particularly severe weather event, maybe it’s better to hear that information from a person rather than an AI.

Jim Richardson – Yeah, exactly. I think I think people um, what we’re seeing, because we’ve already kind of started doing this a little bit, but what we’re seeing is that companies and clients, so we do work for, you know, emergency services as well. We have a met in those offices giving them briefings. And it’s, they like having the same person so they can build that relationship. And they they like seeing them face to face. So there’s a lot of humans, you know, communicate with facial expressions a lot, not just sort of voice. So having that trust with with someone like that. Yeah, it’s definitely important.

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Rose Kerr – So you didn’t actually go like study to become a forecaster. What was your background in before you went into BoM?

Jim Richardson – Yes, I did it. I’ve always kind of been interested in science. So I started out doing just sort of general science first year at uni. And then I got pretty interested in mathematics. So started doing mathematics kind of gradually dropped the other courses I was doing until my last year it was all mathematics.

Rose Kerr – That’s wild. That is a lot of maths.

Jim Richardson – (laughs) And then doubled down. So did a math honors and then did a math Master’s. Got right into it. And then

Rose Kerr – (laughs) you’re a big nerd.

Jim Richardson – (laughs) Yeah, I’ve yeah. Guilty as charged. But yeah, so and then kind of, at some point in my master’s, I had a bit of a realization that the stuff I was doing is really cool. There’s, there’s a whole world of pure maths, which is amazing. But

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Rose Kerr – Jumping in to explain for a second. So pure maths is not motivated by application, it’s kind of a little bit more theoretical, kind of a little bit more big picture, testing stuff out. Sometimes it might have application later on, but that’s not the intention of studying pure maths.

Jim Richardson – Going down that path is very, there’s a lot of very smart people that you have to compete with. And, and also just I remember sitting in a room with like five other people listening to a lecture and just being like, ‘I wonder how many people like understand this stuff?’ like not that it’s difficult but just that it’s obscure. I just wanted something a bit more practical that I could. It’s just hard because he can’t talk to your friends or family about what you’re doing.

Rose Kerr – Yeah.

Jim Richardson – You would just be like, ‘Yes, it’s really cool.’ But like, you know, I can’t I can’t talk to people about it. So yeah, I wanted to do something a bit more practical. So yeah, I guess I got into weather forecasting from there.

Rose Kerr – Yeah, ’cause what kind of jobs do people…what opportunities are open to somebody who studies maths at that level?

Jim Richardson – Maths is good in that you can sell yourself. It’s broad enough that you can, like, get a lot of different jobs, if that makes sense. Like, if you do like a law degree, you can, you can only really be a lawyer. Whereas if you do a math degree, you can you can kind of argue that you’re, you’re a data analyst, so you can get a lot of different sort of data analyst jobs. So I did a few different jobs after my master’s. I worked for a university doing fisheries research. Worked for a travel insurance company. So the setting, you know, how do you set premiums and stuff like that. So it’s all kind of data analysis type stuff. So yeah, you can do a lot of different stuff. Unfortunately, the, the pure math aspect of it probably wasn’t that useful. I think if I’d done applied math, I would have learnt some programming skills and some practical math. So I had to kind of learn that on the job rather than you know, doing a course on it so but but I got by anyway, so

Rose Kerr – Do many people study it?

Jim Richardson – No. (laughs) Yeah, it’s not super useful, other than like, so yeah, it sorry, it is useful, but it’s just useful way down the line. So for example, like the some of the stuff like encryption uses number theory, which is a really abstract area, and it uses number theory stuff from 10 years ago or whatever, but yeah, it was it was like cutting edge pure math proof never going to be useful. And now it’s it’s suddenly, like, essential for, you know, encryption stuff. So it does it does like end up sometimes being very useful. But yeah, I don’t think that’s why people do it. People do it because they love it.

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Rose Kerr – What inspired you to pick forecasting to get into forecasting?

Jim Richardson – So, yeah, good question. I remember my dad was like, when I was in uni, he was like, “Yeah, you should you should get a job with BoM.” And I was like, “Yeah, what?” Yeah, I was like, “Yeah, whatever dad.” And then like, however many years later I ended up doing that. But I was reading this book called “The Signal and the Noise” by Nate Silver. So that talks about predictions and why they go wrong, and you’ve basically got noise which is just kind of like white noise in your data. And then you’ve got the signal, which is what you’re interested in. And if they’re combined, it’s it’s can be quite hard to separate the two. So you can end up sort of what’s called overfitting and, and finding patterns where there are no patterns and stuff but he has a chapter on on weather forecasting in that and was basically saying that people working in a team do a better job than just the raw model guns, which I thought was kind of goes back to what we were talking about earlier. So I found that pretty interesting. It seemed like a good mix of science and mathematics as well as like communication and and you know, teamwork and stuff. So I liked that aspect of it. So yeah, I applied for it and and here we are.

Rose Kerr – So cool. was it hard to make the transition was there a lot to learn?

Jim Richardson – I was lucky, because we had so I guess the way it works. Um, you do like a year of learning, the science of forecasting. So it’s basically like going going to uni for a year and getting paid to do it, which is amazing. And we had some pretty math heavy stuff in that, that that that had been my bread and butter for ages. So I was quite lucky in that moment of time. Yeah. I was quite happy with most of that stuff. And, and the rest of it was kind of physics and meteorology, which is quite, quite interesting to me anyway. So that was awesome. The forecasting itself was like, a bit difficult to adjust to for sure. It’s, but I think everyone kind of has that when they first start, like you don’t kind of realize how difficult it is. There’s a lot of skills there that you wouldn’t expect. Like I guess weather watching is one skill where you’ve just got to be watching what’s happening all the time.

Rose Kerr –  How are you watching it? Like what are you looking at a window? (laughs) Like, how does that work?

Jim Richardson – It’s basically like…So we’ve got a number of tools to like, help us with that. So you might have like a satellite loop, just showing you what’s happening. You’ve got for aviation, you’ve got cloud and visibility meters. So for example, if you’re expecting a fog, at an airport, you might see the visibility meter drop a little bit. So you’ve just got to keep an eye on that. You know, if you don’t have a fog on your forecast, and it’s starting to happen, then you need to, you know, amend your forecast and stuff like that. So at the same time, you’ve got to do, you know, new forecasts. So about like, I guess balancing that and time management is like, something that’s yeah, can be pretty difficult to learn.

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Rose Kerr – What do you wish people knew about your job? What kind of, I don’t know maybe misconceptions people hold about, either working at BoM or being a forecaster?

Jim Richardson – I think a lot of people…the forecast will be wrong. And they’ll, they’ll say, “Oh, what are they doing?” So there’s a few things there. One is, often it’s like when we say 100% chance of rain, we’re kind of covering the whole day. So it’s it might be that it rains in the early morning, or it’s gonna rain, you know that night. So we’ll have 100% on but people wake up and it’s sunny and they’re like “oh, can’t even can’t even get that right.” So that’s, and we kind of deal with that in like a, there’s a fully worded version of the forecast. Where we’ll write a little like, “yes, sunny morning, but showers later on in the evening” or whatever. But people just look at the one number and maybe not even the number, just the icon. So just like a cloud, with rain coming out of it. And they’ll just be like, “that’s not (laughs) that’s not what’s happening.” So I guess that aspect of it. And yeah, that’s probably the main thing to be honest. I think I think the other thing people do is, um, if it’s say, like 80%. They’ll they’ll be like, “Oh, it’s definitely going to rain.” If it’s 20%, they’ll think it’s definitely not going to rain. 80% means, like, means exactly what it says it’s 80%.

Rose Kerr – This actually leads so well into the next section, which is, of course, some weird and wonderful questions from the rest of the Particle team. Because one of the questions that one of my co-workers wanted to ask was, do people text you and say, “what’s the weather?”

Jim Richardson – Like friends and stuff?

Rose Kerr – Yeah!

Jim Richardson – Yeah. Yeah. All Time. Yeah. So so last weekend my friend was like going to go hiking down south. And I was like, “Oh, it’s probably gonna be rainy.” And then she sent me a picture of like, it being sunny and, and just like “what the hell’s going on?” And I was like, “Well, yeah, but that’s not like you’re in Perth like you were going down south. It’s like two different places.” So I sent her back a picture of the radar. Like it’s printed on the radar, just being like “Well, yeah, it still looks pretty rainy down there.” So yeah, people ask me all the time. And I’m often like not that the other I guess misconception is like a weather forecaster knows what’s happening with the weather all the time. And if it’s our day off, like, we’re not looking, we’re not looking at the weather at all. I probably know less than, like the average person about what’s happening. So.

Rose Kerr – If there’s pure maths is there unpure maths?

Jim Richardson – So that’s probably what’s known as applied maths. So yeah, so like pure maths is maths, like, for the sake of doing maths. So it’s discovering things. It’s very much like in the structure of math. Applied math is discovering something about our world. So, you know, areas of physics, you could argue is applied math and statistics and stuff like that. It’s it’s something with some application to the real world. So yeah, there’s, it’s not to say there’s no like, in like interaction between them. Yeah, it’s a bit of a fuzzy boundary. But yeah, that’s generally the idea.

Rose Kerr – Hmm, that’s so satisfying. Are there particular forecasters that are deemed better than others? Is there like good forecasters and bad forecasters or ones you idolize, ones where you’re like “ooh don’t trust him?”

Jim Richardson – (laughs) Generally, like the longer you’ve been doing it, the better you are. Because you’ve seen more of those patterns because it’s all about pattern recognition. So we have like, the senior forecaster is called the Spock. For for all the Star Trek fans out there. Yeah. So like, there’s a Spock who kind of oversees everything. And then yeah, there’s a different kind of areas that I talked about, like the aviation people and, you know, public weather people and stuff. So, if if I’m on the aviation desk, and I’m gonna make a major decision, like put fog on, you know, Perth airport or something. I’ll probably talk to the Spock about it. And the Spock will have some, some opinion on it. But it’s, it’s nice to just be able to talk to someone that has that experience.

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Rose Kerr – Is there a weather event that you’d really like to get to forecast?

Jim Richardson – Yeah, well, we had so we had a, um, I think it was in May we had, well, it’s pretty interesting like, so tropical cyclone Monger, so really, really late season cyclone. And then kind of like a front came through at the same, you know, at the same time it had developed and kind of dragged it down over the West Coast. So that was a very, very rare event, because it’s such a late season cyclone and then for it to get dragged down and develop, you know, and maintain or increase its strength. Wind strength was pretty rare. So that that would have been very stressful to be on that day, but also pretty exciting. And cyclones in general. So I’ve been forecasting three years or so I’ve only just started getting into cyclone forecasting. So I did a few shifts this 2019-2020 season. So, forecasting cyclones is pretty interesting because again, a lot of it’s like, what the models can do well with cyclones is the track. So they’ll, they’ll know where it’s, you know where it’s going to go, but what they struggle with is intensity. So how strong is it going to be? And a lot of that intensity is was developed, you know, at the start of the century, and we’re still using a lot of those techniques, because the job that that person did was so good. So there’s there’s general stuff like if it’s, if there’s a cyclone in open waters, the waters are more than 26 and a half degrees, so they’re warm waters. There’s not much the wind profiles, pretty light, it’ll develop at a standard, rate? So you can say, look, it’ll develop at the standard rate. You’ve also got the computer guidance telling you how it thinks it’s going to develop. And you kind of use both of those to come up with something but more often than not, the standard right of development works pretty well. You just have to keep, you just have to kind of take into account a couple of other factors. But yeah, so that that’s really interesting. So you kind of assess the environment and whether you might say ‘oh it’s the standard rate minus a little bit because there’s a bit of wind shear or something like that’. So you kind of use that to yeah, forecast. So yeah, forecasting a cyclone would be, I mean, I guess I’ve done a few shifts, but that would be something I’d want to do as well.

Rose Kerr – How do they come up with names for cyclones or hurricanes?

Jim Richardson – Cyclones in Australia, there’s a list. There’s a long list that alternates male and female names. And basically, we just go down that list.

Rose Kerr – Oh.

Jim Richardson – So, I can tell you what the next one’s gonna be. Oh, man, now you’ve put me on the spot, hang on. I’ll pull up the web page. But yeah, and then if something gets, if there’s like a very big impact or something like that, we’ll retire the name. So we won’t use that again.

Rose Kerr – Oh so you recycle names after a while if they weren’t like really horrible.

Jim Richardson – Yeah, yeah. So because a lot of them will just be like way off shore and not do anything. So we’ll use that one again. And then I guess the other thing we’ll consider is that if it’s happens to be like the name of a really prominent politician, or celebrity or something, because the names the list of names gets, like done, like we’ve gotten the names for the next few years already ready to go. So people can submit them, and then we’ll get it on the list. So we’ve had some senior forecasters like submit their child’s name, but you know, like, it won’t, it won’t get used until, you know, years from now and stuff but yeah, you can you can submit a name and then if it happens to be like the Prime Minister’s got that same name then we won’t use that but otherwise yeah we’ll just go down the list pretty much. So I’ve pulled it up I think it’s Esther is the next one.

Rose Kerr – Ooh that’s a good one.

Jim Richardson – Yeah if I’m not wrong and there wasn’t already an Esther, but the next one if there was already one then the next one will be Ferdinand so yeah.

Rose Kerr – Do people ever bet on forecasting?

Jim Richardson – What, forecasters? No comment (laughs).

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Rose Kerr – What’s your favorite equation?

Jim Richardson – Oh man, do I have to pick a favourite?

Rose Kerr – You can just have it as our favourite today.

Jim Richardson – Yeah okay. I’ll go with Euler’s formula which is ‘e’, so the exponential number which is like 2.71, and then a bunch of digits that go on forever. So that raised to the power of ‘i’, which is the imaginary number.

Rose Kerr – Okaaayy…

Jim Richardson – (laughs) This is where like, this is where people like “mathematicians don’t know what the hell they’re talking about”. So ‘i’ is um, is known as the square root of negative one. So it’s a number, which if you square it, you end up with negative one, which doesn’t, doesn’t really exist, because any number when you square it ends up positive. But this is this ends up negative, but it’s more like mathematicians are just like, “Well, let’s just, let’s just say that there is one. What can we do with it?” And it turns out, you can do a lot of useful stuff with it. So so you end up using it, but it does, like it does make sense in the right context. For the right structures and stuff like that, but explaining it like it’s a square of negative one doesn’t make much sense. But trust me, it’s, it’s all good. Everything’s all on the up and up. So that ‘e’, that exponential number and exponentials, like used in tons of different stuff, raised to the power of this ‘i’ imaginary number times Pi, which is, we all know what Pi is. So that number plus one equals zero. So, you’ve got exponential. You’ve got the imaginary number, you’ve got Pi, and you’ve got zero and you’ve got one. So it’s like, what more what other numbers could you want? Those are all the those are all the big, awesome, big numbers to use in different areas. So all of that in one formula is pretty cool.

Rose Kerr – And what’s it used for?

Jim Richardson – So it’s actually abstracted. You can abstract it and instead of Pi you can say ‘x’, so e to the i x and then the other side of the equation is cos x plus i sin x. So cos and sin are used with circles and stuff like that, and rotations. So basically, it’s it’s taking something which is two dimensional, where you’ve got to specify your sort of angle and your radius and putting it into an imaginary, putting into imaginary land. So you can almost treat it like if you just start using this imaginary number, it’s quite useful in talking about two dimensional stuff, but you’re using it. So with imaginary numbers, you can add them you can multiply them. You can do all the normal stuff you do in one dimension. But you’re doing you’re doing all this. You’re doing a lot of stuff. in two dimensions, so that’s why it’s useful. Like I said, I said before, you’ve got this imaginary number, and it’s, you know, what the hell is it? Doesn’t make any sense. But you know, we just like mathematicians thought it was, might be useful. And it turns out it is. That’s what it’s useful for is is doing a lot of stuff you can do in two dimensions and just do it with these imaginary numbers instead of doing everything in three dimensions. So.

Rose Kerr – Wow, that’s a very nerdy answer. (laughs)

Jim Richardson – (laughs) We got really deep into it. Yeah.

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Rose Kerr – Going back to studying maths, what kind of misconceptions do you think there are of mathematicians like yourself or people who love maths?

Jim Richardson – Ah, probably the biggest one is like, they’ve got no social skills.

So yeah, that that um, yeah, basically just nerds that are super into math. Which is like, which is not it’s not untrue, but it’s not always true as well. So yeah.

Rose Kerr – Mathematicians are people too.

Jim Richardson – Yeah, exactly.

Rose Kerr – Do you see yourself working in forecasting forever?

Jim Richardson – Uh, probably with the bureau long term. It depends how forecasting goes. What happens to forecasting, but I think there’ll be stuff to do. Whether it’s you know, that decision supports explaining the forecast or general sort of projects, which is what I’ve been getting into recently, which is, you know, how can we improve this forecast? Or, you know, can we set up like a high resolution model or something like that? So, that and the machine learning stuff. There’s a lot of cool stuff to do I think. So, yeah, I’ll be here for a while.

Rose Kerr – Great. That’s awesome. And to finish up with, I hope you have come prepared but I am hoping for a weather or maths fun fact.

Jim Richardson – I’ve got both.

Rose Kerr – Oh, amazing.

Jim Richardson – So my math fun fact is to do with infinity. So turns out there’s different sizes of infinity.

Rose Kerr – What?!

Jim Richardson – Yeah, so and and this is probably another misconception about mathematicians is like that what they’re talking about just doesn’t make any sense. And like this, this is this does make sense. You can for something to say something has the same size as something else. There’s a few kind of different things you can… There’s a way of saying that which carries over to infinity, basically. So if you’ve got it, say you’ve got a hotel, and there’s there’s a person, each room has a person in it. And each person has a room, you say that there’s the same number of rooms, to people.

Rose Kerr – Yes.

Jim Richardson – So that’s what it means to say two things have the same size. So that’s the definition we use in mathematics to say that two sets have the same size. And that carries over quite well to infinity as well. There’s no there’s no problems at all in using that exact definition for talking about infinity. So you can have what’s called like the lowest, the smallest infinity.

Rose Kerr – Okay.

Jim Richardson – And then there’s a really easy way of constructing like a bigger infinity from that and you can prove that there’s that it’s definitely bigger. There’s a now there’s a question ‘Is there an infinity in between the two?’ (laughs) And turns out, it’s impossible to write down a proof that to show that’s true or not. So now it’s a philosophical question.

Rose Kerr – Oh, my gosh.

Jim Richardson – Is it? Is there one in between or not? Like, we can’t write down a proof either way, but it still might be true. So that’s where that’s like the only place where math gets into philosophy. Because you can’t you can’t really know whether it’s true or not. So it’s it’s almost like a ‘What’s your opinion?’

Rose Kerr – Wow. What’s your opinion? Do you think there is or there isn’t?

Jim Richardson – I don’t know. Yeah, good question. I yeah, that’s a really good question. Yeah. That’s, it’s a big it’s a big question. I don’t even know if I think that it’s, if you you know, if you can’t write down a proof, then it might just be unanswerable and it’s just a might not be true. You can’t really consider it true or false if you can’t write that write down a proof. So that the question’s almost more like more do you consider it? You know, if you can’t write down a proof can you even ask the question? Is that true or not? That’s kind of more of a question, I guess. And yeah, I don’t know where I stand on that either. Yeah, um, yeah. And then my weather fun fact is rainbows look like halos from the sky.

Rose Kerr – Awww that’s awesome!

Jim Richardson – (laughs) Yeah. It’s pretty cool.

Rose Kerr – Why is that? Is it the angle you’re looking down?

Jim Richardson – I think it’s so I think it’s because the reason rainbows um the reason you get rainbows is you you’re putting light through a droplet of water. And so light, different frequencies of light will get slowed down by different amounts by this water. And as a result of that, they’ll change angles by a different amount. So you end up with a rainbow, which is the light. The reason the light comes out at all different colours is that it’s those different colours have been coming out at different angles because they’re getting slowed down by different amounts. So I think that so you have a lot going through a raindrop comes out at a different angle. And then I think that angle just keeps going around until it’s like, made a circle. But I don’t actually know I just got that. I just asked around if anyone had a cool weather fact. And someone said that so I don’t actually know why it does that. I was gonna ask Google. Google it before but I didn’t have time. (laughs)

Rose Kerr – That’s alright. It’s fun nonetheless. Thank you so much for joining us on the podcast. Jim.

Jim Richardson – No worries at all.

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Rose Kerr – Thank you for listening to the Particle Podcast. You can find more of our content on all of the socials as well as at Particle’s powered by Scitech and everything we make is made in the wonderful science hub that is Western Australia.

Rose Kerr
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