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Archimedes Society

The MSRI Archimedes Society was established in 2001 to assist the Institute in achieving its annual funding goals. Archimedes Society gifts will help fund junior researchers' travel; the daily teas at which so much mathematics gets done; and will sustain MSRI and all that it does to further mathematics in the world.

Archimedes Society gifts are recognized according to the amount of the contribution, from $34 to $5,041 and above annually (see Membership Level Mysteries).

Donors who give $5,041 or more are invited to the Museion dinner / lecture series. Museion is held in the San Francisco Bay Area in the Spring and Fall, and in New York in late Winter.

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Membership Level Mysteries

All of this started when Hendrik Lenstra heard that MSRI was establishing an Annual Fund. Since the normal numbers which defined the giving levels were boring, he suggested replacing them with interesting numbers.

After a brief disappearance he returned from the MSRI Library with The Penguin Dictionary of CURIOUS and Interesting Numbers by David Wells. With gentle guidance from the Development Director as to accepted funding guidelines, the mathematicians present, including Joe Buhler, developed the following annual donor categories:


$34 to $89 Fibonacci Donor
Both the upper and lower end of this range are Fibonacci Numbers. 34 is also the magic constant of a 4 by 4 magic square.

$90 to $257 Fermat Donor
257 is a Fermat number, and is equal to 2 to the 2 to the 3 plus 1.

$258 to $729 Cubic Donor
729 is a number important to Plato, and a cube that is the sum of three cubes.

$730 to $1,729 Ramanujan Donor
1,729 is the number of Hardy's taxicab which, Ramanujan reflected from his sick bed, is the smallest number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways.

$1,730 - $1,921 Noether Donor ; 1921 is the year of publication of Noether's "Idealtheorie in Ringbereichen" - a landmark paper ushering in the beginning of the field of Abstract Algebra, which became a dominant theme of 20th Century mathematics and flourishes into the 21st.

$1,922 to $5,040 Plato Donor
Plato, in The Laws, suggested that a suitable number of citizens for the ideal city would be that number which contained the most numerous and most consecutive subdivisions. He decided on 5,040, a number with 59 divisors (apart from itself). For purposes of war and peace 5,040 citizens can be divided by any number from 1 to 10.

$5,041 and above Museion Donor
Named for the recognition event to which its members are invited, Mouseion, "the Hall of the Muses", was Ptolemy I's institute at ancient Alexandria. Scholars came to study and advance science, and the adjacent library was said to be the greatest in the world at the time.

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