Ladies and gentlemen, Stand Up Mathematician, Matt Parker!
Alright, we're now going to blow this whole "what is a nerd" debate clean out of the water!
When I show you my all time favourite, we are talking absolute number one here, top favourite spreadsheet.
Some of you may have your own favourite spreadsheets!
I don't know! But would you believe, there are some people out there who don't use
and I'm astounded at this! Apparently there are people who say
spreadsheets are just for work. Right, people who say "yes, if you're in the
office then spreadsheets are great. Because you know you can add
numbers up, you can take averages, you can grab a table and just pivot that sh-"
But those same people, when they go home after work
they don't turn into a spreadsheet or two to help them to relax.
And I think that's outrageous. So I have a campaign to change people's minds about
Now while the vast majority of you are with me, I suspect there may be a few people
here tonight who bought tickets because we have advertised this as a comedy show.
And those people may be concerned that me talking about spreadsheets is not
going to be a world of column to column hilarity, and so to avoid that problem I
have written, and I will perform for you tonight
somewhere between zero and a whole joke.
Okay that was not all of you, that's fine.
A lot of you are now worried this joke is a waste of valuable spreadsheet time.
And it's okay. I've minimised the impact were you to imagine my talk about
spreadsheets as a graph of the amount of joke
over time. There will just be the one sudden spike in the otherwise background
level of joke.
And so this spreadsheet in question, my number one spreadsheet, is this one here.
And what I have done is I have gone through and I put lots of numbers
between 0 and 255 into a spreadsheet and then
so you get a sense of where the large and small values are I've used
conditional formatting so the larger the number in each cell, the brighter the
background colour gets, right. And so in fact if I change one of these you see
the background colour changes with it. So if I increase it to 100 the green gets
a bit brighter. If we go up to 200, it gets much brighter. And then 255, the largest
value in the cell, sorry the entire spreadsheet, is full green. 0 is
and here we have every other whole number shade in between. And I've not just done
this for one colour. As you can see the rows go red, green, blue, red, green, blue,
and that carries on for the approximately one thousand rows in this
Oh and it's about 300 columns across. Yes.
Now at this point,
a few of you are thinking "why? Why have you done this?
Why are we hearing about it on a Saturday night?" Well, actually I
did, I heard a few laughs when I said 255. There's a few people in here who already know
where I'm going with this spreadsheet. If you already know what I'm doing,
my only advice, is for now, just remain calm.
Alright, cause we have a long way to go with this spreadsheet.
If you get too excited now, you're not going to leave yourself the emotional
room to move later on.
In fact I would recommend, initially on a scale of zero to being really freaking
excited, of being around about a third of the way up. Right because what we're
going to do is start to zoom out so you can see more of the spreadsheet at once.
If we come one step back,
you can start to see there are some structures where the large and small numbers are. Right?
And if we come a second step further out, you see the numbers mean that the formatting
makes a picture of someone's face.
Look at that: that's someone's eyes made entirely out of numbers.
In fact if you zoom out again, you can see this is a spreadsheet of a picture of
Yes! Ladies and gentlemen I have really Excelled myself!
That's the one joke, that's it.
I sense I'm being patronised.
It's fine, technically a joke; I can log it in my spreadsheet.
There we go. Right.
So, the reason I did this is I wanted to show people that all digital photographs
are actually just spreadsheets. Whenever you take a photo on your camera
the sensor in your camera, each little bit, when the light hits it, it measures the
amount of red, green, and blue light contacting it, and it scores it on
a scale of 0 to 255. 255 being the largest value you can have with an eight
digit binary number. Yes! Alright, and then it put those three values into three cells
of a spreadsheet. And so each group of three cells is one pixel. And to prove
this beyond all doubt that your mobile phone is actually just a spreadsheet
I have brought along a microscope. If someone prepared to lend me their
smartphone, preferably someone to the front.
I will, if someone who's not that keen would like too lend me their smartphone I
will put it under the microscope and we'll have a look at the spreadsheet. Is
there anyone down? Okay ma'am would you mind taking that.
Thank you very much. Thank you kindly. So we have a iPhone which is not pass code
I think it's a lot funnier when I update your facebook status
"At a nerd show, lolz!" So actually if I can get into the camera,
all right give me a second. Camera function I'll actually take a photo of
the audience and I...you know what let's do a selfie.
they're all the rage right? So if I get a shot of me in... Actually, can we get the house
Can we get everyone in this shot? Perfect. Right. So here's what we'll do.
Okay, hang on. Okay you're all gonna have to bunch in a bit.
Alright, so I'll say one, two, three,
spreadsheets. Right, and we take the photo. Okay, ready? Actually whose phone
Okay well I'll make sure you get, where are you? Wave. Okay, you're right there. We'll get you in the shot.
Okay, ready, 1, 2, 3,
Perfect. Alright, so what we're going to do now is I'll bring that picture up and
I'm going to put it under the microscope. So it will take me a second to get this
Give me a second. Okay, so we'll start off this is just the original screen of the
camera. If i get that in focus you see,
Oh that is a horrifying sight, oh that's me. Hang on a second let's put me up the right way.
Ok so there's there's me. Nice and over here
whose phone, Wow is that your phone? You're very excited for someone just had
their phone stolen.
Okay, so we'll zoom right in down to the pixel level. And we get right down there
you will see that this is just a spreadsheet here we go. Hang on. Oh, hang
on, let me get in focus. The rest of the show to just me focusing this. Is there a screen
protector on this? Foiled by the refractive index.
Okay, hang on. Here we go. I should be able to get that to rest there and the screen turned on.
Okay here we go. Ladies and gentlemen the spreadsheet.
And you can see it's exactly the same as the one I showed you, except of course the
numbers aren't on there so if I give this back to you phone does smell vaguely like a
If I pass that back could you tweet that during the interval and
we'll put up on the screen.
Okay, so now at this point a lot of you are thinking, I want a piece of this action.
Right. How can I turn my photograph into a spreadsheet? And when I did originally
I did it the long way.
I got a digital file popped it open. Scooped out all the numbers. They're just in
there with commas between them, right?
Grab those, paste them into Excel and then spent the entire weekend doing the
conditional formatting. Turns out Excel, not designed for this. But now I've
automated the process.
If you go to the website for my new book "Things To Make And Do In The Fourth Dimension
There's a button that says spreadsheets. If you click on that button you can
upload any photograph you want, and immediately download it as an already
formatted spreadsheet. It is literally ones of hours of fun right there. And the whole point of
this is: all digital displays are just showing you spreadsheets. Whenever you
take a selfie
you're actually taking an excelfie. Right whatever.
Sorry - Two jokes, who knew?
Whenever you're looking at any kind of display. So if you do go
home after work and watch TV.
Let's say enjoy the latest in high quality nerd comedy DVD entertainment
you're actually looking at around about 25 spread sheets per second.
I told you there are great way to relax, right.
And this this is a digital projector that we're using to do the show.
There's a projector back there,
it only projects red, green, and blue cells so you're looking at an
approximation, its a spreadsheet of all the images. It's not like back in the day right back
when we have overhead projectors.
Those were the days, weren't they? And on an OHP you got, whatever you write is what
you get. Right where is now you get a spreadsheet of it. So what you're looking
at there is a spreadsheet of a spreadsheet. Right, and you have to agree
this is pretty conclusive for how nerdy that you can go. But you'd be wrong!
I did not stop here. Oh no. If you zoom further you will see this is a spreadsheet
of the spreadsheet of a picture of me on my laptop
making a spreadsheet of another picture of me on my laptop making another
spreadsheet and at this point I have to wrap up because from here it is just spreadsheets
all the way down.
Thank you very much.
Well, thanks for watching that excerpt from the stand-up show full frontal
nerdity was done by myself,
Helen Army, and Steve Mould, together we are Festival of The Spoken Nerd and
while you saw very little of them in that clip if you head over to our Spoken Nerd
channel you will find the rest of Full-Frontal Nerdity available as the
DVD and download. And those guys are much more into science than mathematics which
believe me is hugely disappointing but if you wade through all the science and
ridiculous setting stuff on fire and the rest of the show
there's plenty more mathematics to keep you happy. If you just want to support
more entertaining mathematics
there are a few things better you can do then to merely subscribe to my stand-up
maths channel of all of them for you fine people watching and sharing these
believe me they'll be very little point in me making them. I still would make them
they'll just be hugely pointless. If you are new here attracted by the promise of
spreadsheets and computing, a good place to start might be my Domino computer.
You can see 10,000 dominoes doing basic binary arithmetic or frankly just have a
look around. If you just want to make a picture spreadsheet like you saw in the
video you can go to the website for my book Things to Make and Do in the Fourth
Dimension or you can go to the website for my organization 'Think Maths'
there are a lot of things to plug today 'Think Maths' is myself and some other
mathematicians we go into secondary schools and give talks to school students
and we do basically a family friendly version of the spreadsheet talk on top
of that we have loads of free resources for maths teachers and there is a
converter that schools can use. It should handle entire class of students all
converting photos into spreadsheet at the same time
Okay I think that's everything if you want to see "Festival of the Spoken Nerd"
either when we are performing live or a DVD or download head to our YouTube
channel or our website which are linked below
If you're a mathematics teacher you can go to 'Think Maths' free the free
resources to get us to come into a talk in your school or if you just want to use
the online spreadsheet converter, in fact anyone can use the online
either there or on my book's website. Oh yeah buy my book
and finally if you haven't please do subscribe to my channel and support all
Thank you very much