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Roots of Unity

Roots of Unity

Mathematics: learning it, doing it, celebrating it.

  • A Few of My Favorite Spaces: The Line with Two Origins

    A Few of My Favorite Spaces: The Line with Two Origins

    By Evelyn Lamb | 7 hours ago |

    You’re about to move, and you need to rent an apartment sight unseen. You go online, make some calls, and eventually settle on something that looks perfect. When you arrive at your new home, though, something’s a little…off. In fact, everything’s off. […]

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  • Change Your Open Sets, Change Your Life

    Change Your Open Sets, Change Your Life

    By Evelyn Lamb | August 28, 2015 |

    When I started writing about my favorite topological spaces , I knew I’d have to confront open sets someday. In topology, it’s not enough to define a space by saying what points are in it. Every topological space comes with baggage: open sets. […]

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  • Take an Epic Quest across a Hyperbolic Surface

    Take an Epic Quest across a Hyperbolic Surface

    By Evelyn Lamb | August 22, 2015 |

    You trek through the realm of Wisdom. In the distance you see a glimmer. Could it be? Yes, it is the orb you seek! You only have a few more to collect before you have explored the entire surface. David Madore is the French mathematician who created this and other games played on the hyperbolic plane. […]

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  • Everything Looks Better in the Hyperbolic Plane

    Everything Looks Better in the Hyperbolic Plane

    By Evelyn Lamb | August 21, 2015 |

    It’s no secret that I have a thing for hyperbolic geometry . I could, and sometimes do, spend hours just thinking about pretty shapes in the hyperbolic plane. So when I found a tool that lets you make your own pictures into pretty hyperbolic shapes , I spent quite a while with it. […]

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  • A Few of My Favorite Spaces: the Infinite Earring

    A Few of My Favorite Spaces: the Infinite Earring

    By Evelyn Lamb | July 31, 2015 |

    Topology is sometimes described as geometry with beer goggles or geometry without your glasses on. Geometry is the study shapes: the way they lie in space, the way they interact with themselves and each other. Doing geometry usually requires measuring distance in some way. […]

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  • Make Mathemusic with Me at Bridges

    Make Mathemusic with Me at Bridges

    By Evelyn Lamb | July 26, 2015 |

    Later this week, I’ll be heading to Baltimore for the annual  Bridges Math+Art conference . I’ve  written about Bridges before , but this is my first time attending. The conference has presentations on everything from great circles in mathematics and poetry (by  Emily Grosholz ,  whose work I featured here in April ) to Bob Bosch's optimization art to spherical geometry and VR headsets (by  Vi Hart ,  Andrea Hawksley , and  Henry Segerman , three of my favorite math makers). […]

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  • The World's Most Accurate Parquet Floor–Based Personality Test

    The World's Most Accurate Parquet Floor–Based Personality Test

    By Evelyn Lamb | July 24, 2015 |

    On my recent vacation in Barcelona, I visited Casa Milá, or La Pedrera , one of Antoni Gaudí’s many Modernista masterpieces in the city. Though by no means the most interesting part of the building, the parquet floor in one of the rooms caught my eye . […]

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  • What It Feels like to Be Cedric Villani

    What It Feels like to Be Cedric Villani

    By Evelyn Lamb | July 8, 2015 |

    I wasn’t sure what to expect from Cédric Villani’s memoir Birth of a Theorem (first published in French as Théorème Vivant ). I had read glowing reviews from Noel Ann Bradshaw and Hannah Fry and decidedly less glowing reviews by Alexander Masters  and Jacob Aron . A math book for a general audience isn’t supposed to have pages of emails between researchers or portions of technical papers. […]

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  • Back Algorithmic Knitting on Kickstarter

    Back Algorithmic Knitting on Kickstarter

    By Evelyn Lamb | July 3, 2015 |

    Fabienne Serriere has used math to inspire her knitting for several years, and right now she’s raising money on Kickstarter to do it on a larger scale. As of July 2, the project, KnitYak, was about 1/3 of the way to the goal and 1/3 of the way through the campaign, which closes on July 23. […]

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  • The Unbearable Literalism of Being a Mathematician or Why I Hate Literary Disclaimers

    The Unbearable Literalism of Being a Mathematician or Why I Hate Literary Disclaimers

    By Evelyn Lamb | June 29, 2015 |

    Mathematicians, like kleptomaniacs, take things literally. (Credit where it is due: I got that joke from a crossword puzzle.) One of the strengths of mathematical thinking is that, while intuition and creativity guide us, we follow it up with rigor and logic. […]

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