Star Trek and mathematics go hand in hand. It's a show about space, and many of the scientific accomplishments demonstrated on the series require advanced engineering. We may not understand the field, but we can appreciate its achievements.
So it makes sense the Museum of Mathematics hosted a forum last Thursday called "Star Trek: The Math of Khan" in order to explain some simple arithmetic behind the show.
Space.com attended the seminar, and offered some pretty neat insight on what it really means to be a Redshirt. You don't have to be a mathematician to understand this one!
"[Star Trek] predicted a lot of technology and included a lot of science fiction ideas," said guest of honor James Grime. "Futuristic technology such as warp speed, going faster than light, transporters that teleport you from one place to another and green alien space babes."
Grime pointed out that although there is such a thing as science fiction, there's no such thing as math fiction. By taking a look at the numbers of Star Trek, we learn more about the series.
The first topic Grime discussed is the perception that Redshirts, or those wearing red uniforms, are more likely to die than other members of the crew. Many fans joke that those who wear the crimson uniform, often engineers or security personnel, are almost guaranteed to die a tragic death.
While it's true more Redshirts die on Star Trek, they're actually less likely to perish.
On the original series, 25 redshirts are killed, followed by 10 crewmembers wearing gold and eight wearing blue. However, many fans fail to take into account there are way more crewmembers wearing red on the U.S.S. Enterprise than those wearing gold or blue.
According to Grime and the Star Trek: Star Fleet Technical Manual, there are 239 redshirts on the series. Of those, only 25 die. That means redshirts on the series have about a 10 percent chance of dying.
However, there are 55 crewmembers wearing gold. If 10 of them die, that means their mortality rate is just over 18 percent. Captain Kirk should consider himself lucky to be alive!
Only six percent of crewmembers wearing blue, often scientists, die on the show.
So the next time someone makes fun of a redshirt, stick up for them! We should really be concerned about the crewmembers wearing gold!
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