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.
posted by Kattullus
on Dec 1, 2010 -
"Michel de Montaigne, whose essays transformed Western consciousness and literature, was not capable of solving basic arithmetic problems. And most other people would not be able to do so either, if not for the invention of decimal notation by an unknown mathematician in India 1500 years ago.
" The Greatest Mathematical Discovery?
) a paper written for the US Dept. of Energy makes this assertion based in part on the work of Georges Ifrah. [via
] [more inside]
posted by jessamyn
on Aug 26, 2010 -
The 300th issue
of This Week's Finds in Mathematical Physics
will be the last. It is not an exaggeration to say that when John Baez
started publishing TWF in 1993, he invented the science blog, and an (academic) generation has now grown up reading his thoughts on higher category theory
, zeta functions
, quantum gravity
, crazy pictures of roots of polynomials
, science fiction
, and everything else that can loosely be called either "mathematical" or "physics."
Baez continues to blog actively at n-category cafe
and the associated nLab
(an intriguingly fermented commune of mathematicians, physicists, and philosophers.) He is now starting a new blog, Azimuth
, "centered around the theme of what scientists can do to help save the planet
posted by escabeche
on Aug 14, 2010 -
Interested in teaching yourself some statistics? Here is an excellent online and interactive statistics textbook
developed at UC Berkeley, and also used at CUNY, UCSC, SJSU, and Bard. Here is the syllabus
for the course at Berkeley. And here are some insightful reflections
from the professor on developing Berkeley's first fully approved online course.
posted by AceRock
on Aug 9, 2010 -
It has applications in Economics
, and is rooted in State Space Modeling
, which with Kalman Filtering
, breakdown [warning: long]
) was used in the Apollo program
. Dynamic Linear Models
are gaining in popularity. There exists an R package
, and both a short doc
and a really great (read: worth buying) book
(sorry, not a download, but here's chapter 2
) by Giovanni Petris
, Sonia Petrone
, and Patrizia Campagnoli with its own little website
posted by JoeXIII007
on Jul 30, 2010 -
Math Is No Match for Locust Swarms.
"Mathematicians have now figured out the dynamics that drive locusts across the landscape, devastating everything underfoot — and the math says people will never be able to predict where the little buggers will go.
The new analysis, reported in an upcoming issue of Physical Review E, suggests that random factors accumulate and influence how swarming locusts collectively decide to change course.
“These swarms are driven by intrinsic dynamics,” says team member Iain Couzin, a biologist at Princeton University. “In all practical terms, predicting when a swarm is going to change direction is going to be impossible." More information here
posted by Fizz
on Jul 27, 2010 -
If politicians were mathematicians.
"I would like to suggest two systems for parliamentary votes, one that would weaken the party system but without killing it off entirely, and one that would protect large minorities. Neither has the slightest chance of being adopted, because they are both too complicated to be taken seriously. But mathematicians wouldn’t find them complicated at all — hence the title of this post." Fields medalist Tim Gowers messes around with political axioms.
posted by escabeche
on May 12, 2010 -
A generating function is a way to keep track of a lot of related numbers all at once... The study of generating functions is an art and a science known as 'generatingfunctionology,'
and its bible is free for all to download. [more inside]
posted by kaibutsu
on Apr 22, 2010 -
's Magnetic sculptures
: "These forms are created with cylinder magnets, spherical magnets, and ball bearings. Magnetism is the only thing holding the forms together. They are fairly fragile and picking them up will likely crush them. All of the forms I created were variations of the 12 sided dodecahedron. This particular platonic solid seems to be the form the magnets are happiest with." [via
posted by dhruva
on Apr 14, 2010 -
is a set of thirteen surveys in varied topics in mathematics, nicely produced with video, text, and interactive Flash gadgets for each of the topics.
posted by Wolfdog
on Apr 14, 2010 -
Trigonometric Delights. This book is neither a textbook of trigonometry—of which there are many—nor a comprehensive history of the subject, of which there is almost none. It is an attempt to present selected topics in trigonometry from a historic point of view and to show their relevance to other sciences. It grew out of my love affair with the subject, but also out of my frustration at the way it is being taught in our colleges.
posted by Wolfdog
on Mar 24, 2010 -
Early elementary school teachers in the United States are almost exclusively female (>90%), and we provide evidence that these female teachers’ anxieties relate to girls’ math achievement via girls’ beliefs about who is good at math.
A study (abstract
and full-text [pdf]
) by the University of Chicago Department of Psychology and Committee on Education found a link between math anxiety in elementary school teachers and their female students' math abilities. [more inside]
posted by albrecht
on Jan 28, 2010 -