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 -
Saunders Mac Lane
, 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 -
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 -
- 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 -
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
fame), eight back to Jacobi
, and nine back to Poisson
, then Lagrange
, then Euler
, then the Bernoulli brothers
, then Leibniz
, and then it blew up at infinity.
posted by gramschmidt
on Dec 21, 2004 -
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 -
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 -
Anatoly Fomenko is one of a number of Russian academics advancing revisionist chronologies
which portray a greatly foreshortened view
of European history. He argues that mediaeval and classical histories as we know them today were fabricated in Renaissance times. In his book
'History: Fiction or Science
', he 'proves' that Jesus Christ was born in 1053 and crucified in 1086, and that the Old Testament refers to mediaeval events... Fomenko's theories have been debunked
, but his ideas have nevertheless gained some currency
in Russia: among his supporters is the former chess champion Garry Kasparov
. Of course, Fomenko is by no means the first
mathematician to grapple with the subject of chronology: indeed, any history must be founded in part on a calculus of dates... Are there any parallels, I wonder, between the spread of theories like Fomenko's and the renewed prevalence of Biblical chronologies
in the US, for example: is there some kind of psychological solace in perceiving history on a smaller scale than current academic orthodoxy allows? (more inside)
posted by misteraitch
on Mar 2, 2004 -
John von Neumann, 1903-1957
. Today may have been the 100 year anniversary of the birth of John von Neumann (some think he may have been born on December 3rd). Along with Alan Turing and others, Von Neumann is one of the contenders for the title "Inventor of the modern computer." Whatever the precise date, it seems worth celebrating with some von Neumannania:
posted by carter
on Dec 28, 2003 -
(pronounced Air-Dersh) was the most prolific mathematician of all time. He wrote almost 1500 papers with many others, leading to the creation of the Erdös number
, connecting mathematicians to each other by way of their co-authored papers. Even a horse
has an Erdös number of 3. He also had his own language
- if a person had "left", they had died, but if they had "died", they had stopped doing mathematics.
posted by Orange Goblin
on Nov 18, 2003 -
The colour of numbers -
For the math geeks out there (which I'm not - maybe his theories will be shot down in flames), Karl Palmen has discovered that numbers can be assigned one of eight "colours", related to their prime factors. He goes on to show the interesting mathematical properties of these colours. A novel way of playing with numbers. Software is on offer
posted by Jimbob
on Aug 11, 2003 -
is an environment that generates small, walking computational organisms. "Each walking thing is built up from totally random conditions. Appearance, behavior, and walking characteristics are all assigned from a range enabling effective, functional mobility. Click on a walking thing to permutate its characteristics".
Just one of the very many wonderful (open source
) creations at levitated.net
(more bugs with bling here
). Kick off your shoes, fill your coffee cup or wine glass, and dip in.
posted by taz
on Jul 2, 2003 -
'The Poincare Conjecture' Solved?
"Dr Grigori Perelman, of the Steklov Institute of Mathematics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St Petersburg, claims to have proved the Poincare Conjecture, one of the most famous problems in mathematics. The Poincare Conjecture, an idea about three-dimensional objects, has haunted mathematicians for nearly a century. If it has been solved, the consequences will reverberate throughout geometry and physics."
Also of note is that Perelman's solution is only a benign side effect of his efforts toward defining all three-dimensional surfaces mathematically, which if successful would allow humanity to "produce a catalogue of all possible three-dimensional shapes in the Universe, meaning that [mankind] could ultimately describe the actual shape of the cosmos itself."
posted by eyebeam
on May 8, 2003 -
For Great Justice.
Man appeals to High Court of Australia to apply their jurisdiction to the laws of mathematics. Justice Kirby not amused.
posted by Bletch
on Apr 7, 2003 -