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Section 13.1 Small Number and the Red Kangaroo

Written by: Veselin Jungic and Mark MacLean

Illustrated by: Lila Mohammed

A Tribute to Jonathan Borwein, 1951-2016, one of the founders of Experimental Mathematics

Small Number is a young boy who gets into a lot of mischief. Once upon a time, he travelled by train through an unknown land with his sister and their grandma.

When the train stopped on the tracks, Small Number jumped through the window and started running towards the kangaroo. Even from a distance, he could see clearly that the kangaroo was completely red.

In the distance, there was a troop of kangaroos. Small Number was almost certain that all of them were red.

“It looks like that there are many red kangaroos in this country. I wonder if there are kangaroos that are not red,” said Small Number to his grandma and sister when he returned to the train.

Grandma hugged him and said proudly: “You ran away to gain a new insight, discover new relationships, and explore a possible result. When you grow up, you will be a great experimental mathematician!”

Question: Why did Grandma say: “In this country there is at least one kangaroo with at least one red side!”?