Recently Emily Graslie, of the fantastic natural history tumblr
and youtube series TheBrainScoop
, was asked a question about whether she had personally experienced sexism in her field. Her response is fucking amazing.
Inside is her goldmine of awesome female science educators online with channels that focus on Science Technology Engineering and Math. My work day is fucked. [more inside]
- The International Avogadro project
relates the kilogram to the mass of a fixed number of atoms by measuring the number of atoms in a sphere of silicon.
I'll leave this
Using computer systems for doing mathematical proofs
- "With the proliferation of computer-assisted proofs
that are all but impossible to check by hand, Hales thinks computers must become the judge." [more inside]
The origins of plus and minus signs
- "There be other 2 signes in often use of which the first is made thus + and betokeneth more: the other is thus made – and betokeneth lesse."
What is the smallest prime?
"It seems that the number two should be the obvious answer, and today it is, but it was not always so. There were times when and mathematicians for whom the numbers one and three were acceptable answers. To find the first prime, we must also know what the first positive integer is. Surprisingly, with the definitions used at various times throughout history, one was often not the first positive integer (some started with two, and a few with three). In this article, we survey the history of the primality of one, from the ancient Greeks to modern times. We will discuss some of the reasons definitions changed, and provide several examples. We will also discuss the last significant mathematicians to list the number one as prime."
There were ways to find the tangent to a curve, and the area under one, in an ad hoc manner before the birth of calculus
. It was even known that these two were inverses of each other.
is a veteran American cartoonist best known for his delightful comic-book guides to science and history, many of which have previews online. Chief among them is his long-running Cartoon History of the Universe
(later The Cartoon History of the Modern World
), a sprawling multi-volume opus documenting everything from the Big Bang to the Bush administration. Published over the course of three decades, it takes a truly global view -- its time-traveling Professor thoroughly explores not only familiar topics like Rome and World War II but the oft-neglected stories of Asia and Africa, blending caricature and myth with careful scholarship (cited by fun illustrated bibliographies
) and tackling even the most obscure events with intelligence and wit
. This savvy satire carried over to Gonick's Zinn
chronicle The Cartoon History of the United States
, along with a bevy of Cartoon Guides
to other topics, including Genetics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, The Environment
, and (yes!) Sex
. Gonick has also maintained a few sideprojects, such as a webcomic look at Chinese invention
, assorted math comics
), the Muse magazine
mainstay Kokopelli & Co.
(featuring the shenanigans of his "New Muses"
), and more
. See also these lengthy interview snippets
, linked previously
. Want more? Amazon links to the complete oeuvre inside! [more inside]
A Brief History of Mathematics
is a BBC series of ten fifteen-minute podcasts by Professor Marcus du Sautoy about the history of mathematics from Newton and Leibniz to Nicolas Bourbaki, the pseudonym of a group of French 20th Century mathematicians. Among those covered by Professor du Sautoy are Euler, Fourier and Poincaré. The podcasts also include short interviews with people such as Brian Eno and Roger Penrose.
Learn how to operate the world's first fully electronic digital computer in this helpful instructional video
. No, not ENIAC
- the Atanasoff Berry Computer. Here's an operator's manual.
about the reconstruction.
The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive
is an astounding collection of historical material on mathematics, especially biographies
. (Previously: 1 2 3 4.)
The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive
from the University of St. Andrews' School of Mathematics and Statistics.
With numerous biographies and photographs, this website indexes the many contributions that women have made to the field of mathematics. From Pythagoras' wife Theano
and martyr Hypatia
, also notable are the first female computer programmer
and the first female Ph.D. recipient