364 posts tagged with Mathematics.
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Of course, I'm illiterate!

Platonic Realms is an online math academy. It features a searchable encyclopedia with extended articles on things from Cantor's Theorem to Zeno's Paradox of the Tortoise and Achilles. You'll also find minitexts, such as "Coping with Math Anxiety" and "The Mathematical Art of M.C. Escher". Last but not least, a searchable math quotes database.
posted by owhydididoit on Sep 9, 2006 - 4 comments

Sorry, but I can't find "Story of Your Life"

Here are four stories by the great Ted Chiang.
posted by Iridic on Sep 2, 2006 - 15 comments

Interview of Grigory Perelman

Grigory Perelman, awarded the Fields Medal for his work on the Poincare Conjecture, talks to the New Yorker.
posted by Gyan on Aug 29, 2006 - 17 comments

Proofs and Pictures: The Role of Visualization in Mathematical and Scientific Reasoning

Proofs and Pictures: The Role of Visualization in Mathematical and Scientific Reasoning [video] "The picture is a telescope for looking into Plato's heaven." -- James Brown [cached]
posted by Chuckles on Aug 20, 2006 - 27 comments

paging dr. perelman

Grisha Perelman, where are you? Perelman has quite possibly solved one of mathematics biggest mysteries, Poincaré’s conjecture, but has since disappeared.
posted by kliuless on Aug 15, 2006 - 32 comments

Turing: The Final Years

Among his collected works, in the few, short years before mathematician Alan Turing was driven to suicide, he published "The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis", theorizing how a standing wave-like distribution of "cannibal" and "missionary" chemicals might explain how plants and animals develop their shape and pigmentation. Blogger Jonathan Swinton focuses on this more obscure aspect of Turing's research, and reviews some of his posthumous and unpublished efforts — including one of the earliest known examples of digital computation applied to the field of biology.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 7, 2006 - 10 comments

More than you ever wanted to know about nothing at all

The Zero Saga contains a great deal of information about the concept of zero, and its relation to other numbers and concepts in mathematics. It was linked in Good Math, Bad Math; which contains a variety of other informative articles on the numbers that capture our imaginations. (Note: You may want to skip past part 4 of the Zero Saga, as it contains replies to the site, and as such should probably be at the bottom of the page. But, to compensate, the comments on Good Math are better than most blogs I've read.)
posted by Eideteker on Aug 3, 2006 - 11 comments

The Moving Sofa Constant

The Moving Sofa Constant. We have noticed you have a small personal problem with sofas. You move them and get them stuck in hallways. But it's nothing a little math won't fix.
posted by storybored on Jul 21, 2006 - 29 comments

Minimum sudoku

Minimum Sudoku. It is believed (though not proven) that the minimum number of entries in a Sudoku grid that will lead to a unique solution is 17. Gordon Royle of the University of Western Australia has collected 36,628 "minimum Sudoku" grids. Additional reading: an article in American Scientist on determining the difficulty of a Sudoku problem; Wikipedia article on the mathematics of Sudoku; the Sudoku Programmers' Forum on Sudoku mathematics.
posted by Prospero on Jul 19, 2006 - 29 comments

divide and conquer

Math gets a patent.
"The field of invention relates generally to performing division operations using processing components and, more specifically but not exclusively relates to techniques for performing efficient software-based integer division using reciprocal multiplication."
posted by The Jesse Helms on Jul 13, 2006 - 33 comments

Mapping the StarMaze

Mapping the StarMaze A tale of mathematical obsession: "Before I can explain my decades-long quest to map the starmaze I must acquaint you with a small puzzle...I have a habit of seeing everything (cities, organizations, computers, networks, brains) as a maze, so I named this puzzle the starmaze....The first problem I ran into was that there were a lot of rooms...I invented wacky names for each room...But something funny happened...In that instant I finally grasped that the starmaze was arranged on the edges of a nine-dimensional hypercube..."
posted by vacapinta on Jun 4, 2006 - 38 comments

A Romance in Lower Mathematics.

The Dot and the Line. (by Norman Juster) Read the book. Watch the movie.
posted by jrb223 on May 20, 2006 - 20 comments

The Difference Engine

Charles Babbage's Difference Engines. One built in 1853. A subsequent design completed in 1991. And again in Lego. Both designs recreated in Meccano parts. [more inside]
posted by slimepuppy on Apr 26, 2006 - 11 comments

...almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

"...the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything is..." "Yes? Yes!?" "...42."
via Dyson, Montgomery, Princeton, a cup of tea - as presented by Seed Magazine.
posted by loquacious on Mar 28, 2006 - 41 comments


The Value of Algebra: "Gabriela, sooner or later someone's going to tell you that algebra teaches reasoning. This is a lie propagated by, among others, algebra teachers."
posted by daksya on Feb 16, 2006 - 190 comments

It's all a numbers game...

Notable properties of specific numbers: From Planck time to milli-millillions and myriads.
posted by Rothko on Feb 5, 2006 - 16 comments

noe .2. thynges, can be moare equalle.

"To avoide the tediouse repetition of these woordes: is equalle to: I will settle as I doe often in woorke use, a paire of paralleles, or gemowe lines of one lengthe: ======, bicause noe .2. thynges, can be moare equalle." Welsh mathematician Robert Recorde (1510–1558) invented the equals sign in his 1557 work The Whetstone of Witte, which also introduced "Zenzizenzizenzic", the eighth power of a number. Recorde had advocated the + and – symbols in his 1540 work The Grounde of Artes. He died in debtor's prison in 1558. Read, watch, or listen to a recent lecture that links the equals sign to developments in art, navigation, and astronomy. (Wikipedia)
posted by goatdog on Dec 16, 2005 - 14 comments

"Face the face, got to face the face"

An awkward resemblance to a certain eigenface might get you pulled aside in Las Vegas. Prof. Hilbert is probably spinning in his grave.
posted by Rothko on Dec 12, 2005 - 24 comments

"This ain't no disco/This ain't no foolin' around"

Mathematical proofs in sanus, with some visualization from Martin Wattenberg's The Shape of Song. "The music here...is a raw and unadorned representation of the mathematics itself, involving few human preconceptions beyond a basic mapping needed to accommodate the Western tonal scale."
posted by Rothko on Dec 4, 2005 - 13 comments

How to Draw a Straight Line

How to Draw a Straight Line - Until 1873, virtually all mathemeticians and engineers agreed that it was impossible to build a linkage that could convert circular motion to perfectly straight motion. In that year, Lipmann Lipkin rediscovered the Peaucellier cell which had been quietly created a decade earlier. Although much simpler to build, it was predated by Pierre-Frederic Sarrus' non-planar solution. Nowadays, though, linkages can do some extremely complex things. (via)
posted by Plutor on Nov 28, 2005 - 25 comments

Tangible Applications of Science

Beyond Discovery - illustrations of the path from research to human benefit
posted by Gyan on Oct 22, 2005 - 7 comments

Guess about 2 people will snark about this title

A View from the Back of the Envelope - approximations and the fun behind them.
posted by Gyan on Oct 18, 2005 - 25 comments

Lost and Found

Not Lost After All Given recent posts proving and disproving various meanings of the ongoing numbers references on the television program Lost, I figured that some of you would be interested that a person over on Flickr seems to have a much better explanation: they're simply geographic coordinates.
posted by luriete on Sep 30, 2005 - 67 comments

Sine of the times

Norman Wildberger's New Trigonometry Dr Norman Wildberger has rewritten the arcane rules of trigonometry and eliminated sines, cosines and tangents from the trigonometric toolkit. The First chapter of his new book, Divine Proportions, is online (.pdf).
posted by Kwantsar on Sep 25, 2005 - 21 comments

Math You Don't Know, and Math You Didn't Know You Didn't Know.

Jim Loy's Mathematics Page is (among other things) a collection of interesting theorems (like Napoleon's Triangle theorem), thoughtful discussions of both simple and complex math, and geometric constructions (my personal favorite); the latter of which contains surprisingly-complex discussions on the trisection of angles, or the drawing of regular pentagons.

Similarly enthralling are the pages on Billiards (and the physics of), Astronomy (and the savants of), and Physics (and the Phlogiston Theory of), all of which are rife with illustrations and diagrams. See the homepage for much more.

If you like your geometric constructions big, try Zef Damen's Crop Circle Reconstructions.
posted by odinsdream on Sep 14, 2005 - 8 comments

What kind of a sculpture would Metafilter represent?

Bathsheba Grossman: a geometric sculptor
posted by Gyan on Aug 26, 2005 - 11 comments

Negative knowledge (or more precisely negative information)

Know less than nothing!? What could negative knowledge possibly mean? In short, after I tell you negative information, you will know less... "In this week's issue of Nature, however, Michal Horodecki and colleagues present a fresh approach to understanding quantum phenomena that cannot be grasped simply by considering their classical counterparts." [via slashdot :]
posted by kliuless on Aug 8, 2005 - 26 comments

The World is Bound With Secret Knots

Athanasius Kircher was the 17th century's Jesuit version of the übergeek. His scholarly attentions were drawn to egyptology, astronomy, magnetism, languages, optics, music, geology, mathematics and many many other pursuits. The "dude of wonders" invented novel machines such as the mathematical organ and magnetic clock, established one of the first museums, published about 40 academic works (with beautiful accompanying illustrations) and was globally revered as one of his time's greatest intellectuals. He is also the main link in the Voynich manuscript mystery. [MI]
posted by peacay on Aug 7, 2005 - 12 comments

MARGE! You're soaking in it!

Fractal animation videos. Tune in. Turn on. Drop in on a dripping skirling-swirling pulsating orgy of self-transforming recursive math. Some with fractal music. (Non-embedded mpeg-1 and mpeg-2 files, like God intended.)
posted by loquacious on Aug 7, 2005 - 15 comments

Nature of Mathematical Truth

Gödel and the Nature of Mathematical Truth : A Talk with Verena Huber-Dyson
posted by Gyan on Jul 29, 2005 - 77 comments

You can't prove this title wasn't an attempt to illustrate Godel

Godel's theorems have been used to extrapolate a great many "truths" about the world. Torkel Franzen sets the record straight in his new book Godel's Theorem: An Incomplete Guide to Its Use and Abuse. Read the introduction (PDF). If you want, check out his explanation of the theorems.
posted by Gyan on Jun 29, 2005 - 65 comments

The Complexity of a Controversial Concept

The Logic of Diversity "A new book, The Wisdom of Crowds [..:] by The New Yorker columnist James Surowiecki, has recently popularized the idea that groups can, in some ways, be smarter than their members, which is superficially similar to Page's results. While Surowiecki gives many examples of what one might call collective cognition, where groups out-perform isolated individuals, he really has only one explanation for this phenomenon, based on one of his examples: jelly beans [...] averaging together many independent, unbiased guesses gives a result that is probably closer to the truth than any one guess. While true — it's the central limit theorem of statistics — it's far from being the only way in which diversity can be beneficial in problem solving." (Three-Toed Sloth)
posted by kliuless on Jun 20, 2005 - 6 comments

What makes a hat into hate?

That's Mathematics! Warning, contains bad camera work, worse editing, a rather complicated homework problem, a few mathematical in-jokes, illegible chalkboard writing, and a 13 minute performance by Tom Lehrer.
posted by eriko on Jun 14, 2005 - 29 comments

Crafty geeks

Whether its crocheted hyperbolic models or Lorenz manifolds, a lace pi shawl or knit Fibonacci socks, some math geeks find expression in the fiber arts.
posted by madamjujujive on May 30, 2005 - 26 comments

Let's get stoned and explore bounded equations

Mandelbrot explorer 20th century Dutch mathemeticians are cool. http://www.ddewey.net/mandelbrot/
posted by longsleeves on May 24, 2005 - 21 comments

Capturing the Unicorn

Capturing the Unicorn : How two mathematicians helped the Met to digitally stitch together the Unicorn Tapestry. (via)
posted by dhruva on Apr 28, 2005 - 22 comments

Saunders Mac Lane, 1909--2005

Saunders Mac Lane, mathematician, has died, age 95. Winner of the National Medal of Science, Vice-President of the National Academy of Science, President of the American Mathematical Society, author of three of the canonical texts in algebra [reg. maybe req., here's a local copy], Mac Lane was also mathematical ancestor to over a thousand mathematicians, father of category theory and homological algebra, and expert in topology, topos theory, group cohomology, logic, and applied mathematics. He was one of the towering figures of postwar mathematics. Remembered by his students and all of us who were affected by his work and his life.
posted by gleuschk on Apr 22, 2005 - 7 comments

1 + 2 = high drama

The Mathematical Fiction Homepage is a collaborative attempt to "collect information about all significant references to mathematics in fiction." Feel free to add classic or recent works in any medium to the collection, or rate existing entries on their mathematical content and literary quality.
posted by mediareport on Apr 18, 2005 - 8 comments


Mathematics Awareness Month - April 2005: Essays, DVD, Links. Prior MAMs.
posted by Gyan on Apr 1, 2005 - 7 comments

To “have the privilege of walking home with Gödel.”

“Gödel put logic on the mathematical map.”
An excellent interview with Rebecca Goldstein, biographer of Kurt Godel
posted by thatwhichfalls on Mar 19, 2005 - 23 comments

Winnie Knows Math

Danica McKellar —the former star of The Wonder Years—has her own web site. It's got a great feature where she answers your math questions. No, really. She's got a degree in mathematics and co-authored a paper on percolation and Ashkin-Teller models. No, really.
posted by bbrown on Feb 25, 2005 - 43 comments

snow sculpture

Mathematical Model : Knot Divided at the Budweiser International Snow Sculpture Championships 2005. Previous Mefi discussion.
posted by dhruva on Feb 17, 2005 - 3 comments

Hypothesis as thought-crime

Hypothesis as thought-crime...Now, however, a new brouhaha has erupted [at Harvard]and it seems impossible that Summers [the president]will emerge from this one without serious erosion of his moral authority. The trigger was a statement he made at a conference, suggesting that the reason there are more men than women in the mathematical sciences at top-flight institutions has to do with a small statistical difference in inate ability, which becomes a pretty large disparity when one looks at the 'high end' of the respective distribution curves... The fatal words did not set forth his main theme, but merely constituted a brief aside, thoroughly hedged and qualified. Nonetheless, they touched off a firestorm of indignation, the most striking aspect of which was the intemperate response of a number of feminist scientists, who offered no counter-arguments, but simply declared the whole idea misogynistic and therefore forbidden intellectual territory.
posted by Postroad on Jan 31, 2005 - 71 comments


+Plus - An internet magazine published five times a year which aims to introduce readers to the beauty and the practical applications of mathematics.
posted by Gyan on Jan 6, 2005 - 7 comments

Game Theory Resource

Game Theory.
posted by Gyan on Jan 3, 2005 - 14 comments

The Mathematics Genealogy Project

The Mathematics Genealogy Project. A service of the Department of Mathematics at North Dakota State University, the project intends to "compile information about ALL the mathematicians of the world. [...] It is our goal to list all individuals who have received a doctorate in mathematics." Seven generations from one of my recent professors back to Gauss, six back to Felix Klein (of Erlangen Program and bottle fame), eight back to Jacobi, and nine back to Poisson and Fourier, then Lagrange, then Euler, then the Bernoulli brothers, then Leibniz, and then it blew up at infinity.
posted by gramschmidt on Dec 21, 2004 - 5 comments

Math + test = trouble for US economy

Math + test = trouble for US economy For a nation committed to preparing students for 21st century jobs, the results of the first-of-its-kind study of how well teenagers can apply math skills to real-life problems is sobering. American 15-year-olds rank well below those in most other industrialized countries in mathematics literacy and problem solving, according to a survey released Monday
posted by Postroad on Dec 6, 2004 - 86 comments

Thinking Machine 4

Thinking Machine 4 explores the invisible, elusive nature of thought. Play chess against a transparent intelligence, its evolving thought process visible on the board before you.

From Martin Wattenberg (with Marek Walczak); they have been noted here before.
posted by e.e. coli on Oct 27, 2004 - 11 comments

Meaning of Life

The Meaning of Life according to various rather famous people (Dennett, Fukuyama, etc). I'm watching the Dennett video at the moment and it starts rather weakly, but, by midway through, is rolling along nicely. With topics like "being good without god" and "the anthropic principle" it struck me as relevant to a couple of recent askmefi threads.
Dennett: [pause] i guess i'll say it again, more slowly...

(oh, and the player interface is rather delicate - give it time to load and click play a few times...)
posted by andrew cooke on Oct 1, 2004 - 17 comments

A Tangled Tale

Maths puzzles and more problems. Found whilst searching for the fiendish the Monty Hall Problem. A Tangled Tale, indeed.
posted by plep on Sep 24, 2004 - 6 comments

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