Predicate Logic and Popular Culture (Part 198): Smash Mouth

Let P be the set of all people, let T be the set of all times, and let R(x,t) be the proposition “x told me at time t that the world is going to roll me. Translate the logical statement

\exists x \in P \exists t \in T (R(x,t)).

This matches the opening line of “All Star” by Smash Mouth.

Context: Part of the discrete mathematics course includes an introduction to predicate and propositional logic for our math majors. As you can probably guess from their names, students tend to think these concepts are dry and uninteresting even though they’re very important for their development as math majors.

In an effort to making these topics more appealing, I spent a few days mining the depths of popular culture in a (likely futile) attempt to make these ideas more interesting to my students. In this series, I’d like to share what I found. Naturally, the sources that I found have varying levels of complexity, which is appropriate for students who are first learning prepositional and predicate logic.

When I actually presented these in class, I either presented the logical statement and had my class guess the statement in actual English, or I gave my students the famous quote and them translate it into predicate logic. However, for the purposes of this series, I’ll just present the statement in predicate logic first.

Slightly Incorrect Ugly Mathematical Christmas T-Shirts: Index

I’m doing something that I should have done a long time ago: collecting a series of posts into one single post. The following links comprised my series on slightly incorrect ugly mathematical Christmas T-shirts.

Part 1: Missing digits in the expansion of \pi.

Part 2: Incorrect computation of Pascal’s triangle.

Part 3: Incorrect name of Pascal’s triangle.