## Archive for **April 12th, 2011**

## How does Tupper’s self-referential formula work?

*[I write this post with a certain degree of embarrassment, because in the end it turns out (1) to be more simple than I anticipated, and (2) already done before, as I could have found if I had internet access when I did this. :-)]*

The so-called “Tupper’s self-referential formula” is the following, due to Jeff Tupper.

Graph the set of all points such that

in the region

where N is the following 544-digit integer:

48584506361897134235820959624942020445814005879832445494830930850619

34704708809928450644769865524364849997247024915119110411605739177407

85691975432657185544205721044573588368182982375413963433822519945219

16512843483329051311931999535024137587652392648746133949068701305622

95813219481113685339535565290850023875092856892694555974281546386510

73004910672305893358605254409666435126534936364395712556569593681518

43348576052669401612512669514215505395545191537854575257565907405401

57929001765967965480064427829131488548259914721248506352686630476300

The result is the following graph:

Whoa. How does this work?

At first sight this is rather too incredible for words.

But after a few moments we can begin to guess what is going on, and see thatâ€”while cleverâ€”this is perhaps not so extraordinary after all. So let us calmly try to reverse-engineer this feat.