Let's say you're me and you're in math class, and you're supposed to be learning about factoring. Trouble is, your teacher is too busy trying to convince you that factoring is a useful skill for the average person to know with real-world applications ranging from passing your state exams all the way to getting a higher SAT score and unfortunately does not have the time to show you why factoring is actually interesting. It's perfectly reasonable for you to get bored in this situation. So like any reasonable person, you start doodling. [more inside]
posted by ErWenn
on Dec 3, 2010 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
An elegant demonstration of beauty in mathematics (and landscape). Nikki Graziano
is a math and photography student at Rochester Institute of Technology; some of her photographs were recently featured in Wired
. Graziano "overlays graphs and their corresponding equations onto her carefully composed photos. ... Graziano doesn’t go out looking for a specific function but lets one find her instead. Once she’s got an image she likes, Graziano whips up the numbers and tweaks the function until the graph it describes aligns perfectly with the photograph."
posted by jokeefe
on Feb 8, 2010 -
"Back in 1993 I was tutoring my sister in algebra
. Her quizzes and tests were always made of word problems with a running storyline involving many recurring places and characters. I tied the fate of the main characters to how well she did on the previous quiz, so a good performance brought them good fortune. Unfortunately, one test she completely bombed, and, well, this
is a transcription of the quiz she got next." [more inside]
posted by Iridic
on Feb 3, 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 -
The beauty of roots.
From Dan Christensen
and Sam Derbyshire via John Baez. If you like algebra: these are plots of the density in the complex plane of roots of polynomials with small integral coefficients. If you don't: these are extravagantly beautiful images produced from the simplest of mathematical procedures. Explore the image interactively here
posted by escabeche
on Jan 4, 2010 -
Alice's adventures in algebra: Wonderland solved
"Outgunned in the specialist press, Dodgson took his mathematics to his fiction. Using a technique familiar from Euclid's proofs, reductio ad absurdum, he picked apart the "semi-logic" of the new abstract mathematics, mocking its weakness by taking these premises to their logical conclusions, with mad results. The outcome is Alice's Adventures in Wonderland."
posted by dhruva
on Dec 16, 2009 -
"I can see the audience tonight, so I can see also from the size of it that there must many of you here who are not thoroughly familiar with physics, and also a number that are not too versed in mathematics- and I don't doubt that there are some who know neither physics nor mathematics very well.
That puts a considerable challenge on a speaker who is going to speak on the relation of physics and mathematics- a challenge which I, however, will not accept: I published the title of the talk in clear and precise language, and didn't make it sound like it was something it wasn't- it's the relation of physics and mathematics - and if you find that in some spots it assumes some minor knowledge of physics or mathematics, I cannot help it. It was named."
The Feynman Messenger series at Cornell
has been made available online for the first time thanks to Bill Gates.
posted by hindmost
on Jul 15, 2009 -