Abagnale

Every now and then, I like to talk about abstract math concepts with my kids. I don’t have a background in mathematics or anything, but I do love having complex math concepts distilled and spoonfed to me. I find it soothing. I particularly like Numberphile videos. So, every now and then, the twins and I will talk about stuff like infinity.

Back in October or November, I was talking about sets with Eleanor, and she said “oh! I already know this! Abagnale!” And … that didn’t mean anything to me. I thought “…Frank Abagnale?” and said “What?”

Eleanor: You know, Abagnale!
Me: You don’t mean Frank Abagnale, right?
Ele: Who? No. No. I mean, you know, a lot of sets. First there’s Abagnale, then there’s Omega, then there’s Ortega.
Me: There is not! Ortega is not in there.
Ele: Ok, maybe not Ortega, I’m not sure about that one, but there’s definitely Abagnale.

Bob and I exchanged looks. Because there is no Abagnale term in math that we know of, and how do we look this up?

I asked Ele a bit more about this, and she had watched a math video about infinite sets (like mother like daughter), and that’s where she found out about Abagnale. So she and I went on Youtube and looked up videos about infinite sets, and found this one. The very video she watched! She was so pleased and excited that finally (finally) we would see that Abagnale was real.

It turns out Eleanor pronounces “Aleph null” as “Abagnale” and there’s nothing you can tell her that will make her change.

Me: Oh, it’s “Aleph null.”
Ele: Right, Abagnale.
Me: Aleph.
Ele: (mumbling)
Me: Null.
Ele (triumphant): Abagnale!

Needless to say, I didn’t know about Abagnale before Eleanor introduced it to me, and it’s a really neat experience to excitedly talk about something with your own child, and have them be just as excited and introduce you to new stuff about it too. I’m used to that happening with grownups, but it’s really really cool to experience it with an 8 year old that I personally made.

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