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Posts Tagged "recreational math"

Observations

Unscientific Unamerican, and Other April Fools’ Jokes in SA History

The more complex the mind, the greater the need for play. Okay, I ripped that off from Star Trek, episode 15, but I like to think the conceit applies to the Scientific American community of readers, writers, editors and authors. Any fan of science and technology must have a curious mind. Of course, you probably [...]

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Observations

Mathematicians at Play: 3-D Printing Enters the 4th Dimension

I was at a math conference last week, and one of the other attendees brought a puzzle. I am a pretty slow puzzle-solver, so it will be a while before I figure out how to assemble those five pieces to get this. Three views of the assembled puzzle. Saul Schleimer, a mathematician at the University [...]

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Observations

Flexagon but Not Forgotten: Celebrating Martin Gardner’s Birthday

October 21 is the anniversary of Martin Gardner’s birth. Gardner (1914-2010) is a legend in recreational (and professional) mathematics circles. Although he had little mathematical training, his 1956-1981 Scientific American column “Mathematical Games” has had a huge impact on the way people view math. In a Science Talk podcast shortly after Gardner’s death, Douglas Hofstadter, [...]

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Observations

Why 167 Is a Happy Number—Besides Being Scientific American‘s Age

On Tuesday, Scientific American turns 167 years old. It doesn’t exactly look like the kind of anniversary we usually celebrate, with our decimal normative number system that overvalues ending zeroes and fives, but 167 is a pretty neat number. First of all, we can insert two symbols into it to get a correct mathematical statement: [...]

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Observations

Does Pi Encode Shakespeare’s Plays? [Video]

Yesterday was Pi Day (3.14, approximately), and appropriately enough comes this analysis of the irrational number by Vi Hart, a recreational “mathemusician” at Khan Academy. You might remember her from her viral video about love and self-delusion on the Mobius strip. In the video below, she explores—in seven sonnets—whether “Romeo and Juliet” and other of [...]

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