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The Fifth problem: Math & Anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union

The Fifth Problem: "If this were a boxing match, with one of the boxers pressed in the corner, bloodied, desperately trying to hold his own against the barrage of punches falling on him (many of them below the belt, I might add), that would be the equivalent of the final, deadly, blow. The problem looked innocent enough at first glance: given a circle and two points on the plane outside the circle, construct another circle passing trough those two points and touching the first circle at one point." Edward Frenkel, now Professor of Mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, details the curiously baroque way Moscow State University chose to discriminate against talented Jewish math students: By quizzing them with fiendishly difficult math problems with deceptively simple solutions that are nearly impossible to find. [more inside]
posted by flug on Nov 5, 2012 - 41 comments

Math interview podcast

Strongly Connected Components is a podcast of interviews with mathematicians. Hear complexity theorist Scott Aaronson (of Shtetl-Optimized), Tom Henderson (of Punk Mathematics) algebraist Olga Holtz of UC-Berkeley, master combinatorist Richard Stanley of MIT, and many more.
posted by escabeche on Aug 5, 2011 - 5 comments

Finite formula found for partition numbers

New math theories reveal the nature of numbers [1,2] - "We prove that partition numbers are 'fractal' for every prime. These numbers, in a way we make precise, are self-similar in a shocking way. Our 'zooming' procedure resolves several open conjectures, and it will change how mathematicians study partitions." (/.|via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 22, 2011 - 45 comments

How do you calculate Pi? Build a supercomputer.

How do you calculate Pi? Build a supercomputer. The Mountains of Pi, a New Yorker profile of the mathematician (sic) the Chudnovsky brothers. Warning: the article is from 1992, and internet is missing its definite article. (Previously)
posted by OmieWise on Sep 9, 2010 - 31 comments

More than just beautiful minds

Photographer Mariana Cook has a new book of portraits of well-known mathematicians. Here's a slideshow with some interesting audio, and more of the photographs.
posted by Frobenius Twist on Sep 10, 2009 - 10 comments

MacTutor History of Mathematics archive

The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive is an astounding collection of historical material on mathematics, especially biographies. (Previously: 1 2 3 4.)
posted by parudox on Feb 28, 2009 - 5 comments

E8 Structure Decoded

Math Team Solves the Unsolvable E8
"If you thought writing calculations to describe 3-D objects in math class was hard, consider doing the same for one with 248 dimensions. Mathematicians call such an object E8, a symmetrical structure whose mathematical calculation has long been considered an unsolvable problem. Yet an international team of math whizzes cracked E8's symmetrical code in a large-scale computing project, which produced about 60 gigabytes of data. If they were to show their handiwork on paper, the written equation would cover an area the size of Manhattan."
posted by ericb on Mar 19, 2007 - 67 comments

No, I'm a frayed knot

Michael Hutchings' rope trick and Dylan Thurston's two-handed knot-drawing sk1llz. Did you need to kill some time practicing pointless skills today?
posted by Wolfdog on May 6, 2005 - 12 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

Math owie! Was math in distress during its awareness month? Discuss. [Inspired by moz of TPK.]
posted by tamim on Apr 28, 2002 - 25 comments

Americans suck at math. Mathematician trade deficit ensues...

Americans suck at math. Mathematician trade deficit ensues... I only find this article interesting because of a talk with my math teacher recently about how most math teachers these days are foriegners, although she isn't, and not that foriegners are bad. But I'm curious if this a bad problem in today's economy or not? Or if this is a problem? What country is good at math? India and China? That's where most of the Silicon Valley CEO's workers are from these days. Or is that political, financial? I don't know. Do you know?
posted by redleaf on Feb 7, 2001 - 22 comments

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