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Mathematics: learning it, doing it, celebrating it.
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Evelyn Lamb is a postdoc at the University of Utah. She writes about mathematics and other cool stuff. Follow on Twitter @evelynjlamb.
• # These Hypocycloids Will Make You Happy

Unless you’re holding a baby or a scalpel, drop everything and read this blog post about hypocycloids by John Baez. (And if you’re holding a scalpel, please put away whatever device you’re reading this on and pay attention to your surgery!) In addition to a lovely exposition by Baez, the post features some gorgeous animations [...]

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# Counterexamples in Origami

Surfaces are complicated. Triangles are simple. That’s an idea behind some methods of creating computer graphics and some advanced mathematics. If we have a surface, we can take a bunch of points on the surface and connect them into triangles to obtain an approximation of the surface. That’s all well and good, but how reliable [...]

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# A Mathematical Thanksgiving Celebration

Last year, the inimitable Vi Hart made a Thanksgiving video series, describing how to imbue your holiday celebration with more mathematics. My favorite video is the one about Borromean onion rings, perhaps because I’ve been slightly obsessed with Borromean rings for a while. Borromean rings are three circles that are connected so that if you [...]

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# A Cuddly, Crocheted Klein Quartic Curve

Last week, mathematician and artist Daina Taimina shared her latest creation on Twitter. It’s a model of a surface called the Klein quartic. Isn’t it cute? So what is it? The Klein quartic surface is a 2-dimensional object with 3 holes that has a lot of symmetries. In fact, it has as many symmetries as [...]

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# How the Simpsons (And You) Can Multiply by Seven Using Your Fingers

When I tutored elementary school math, one of my favorite things to show the kids was how to multiply by 9 using their fingers. (I apologize, but this trick assumes that you have five fingers on each hand. Later you’ll see how to adapt it if you have nonstandard hands.) Here’s how the finger rule [...]

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# When Numbers Are Used for a Witch Hunt

I recently finished the excellent book Math on Trial by Leila Schneps and Coralie Colmez. In it, the authors collect examples where statistical errors have possibly altered the outcome of trials. This weekend I’ll be on a panel about using statistics in science writing, and while the book looked at numbers in the courtroom, many [...]

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# Zombie Fever: A Mathematician Studies a Pop Culture Epidemic

Zombies. They’re everywhere. My dentist and his assistant spent my last visit and chatting about The Walking Dead while drilling into my head, and it seems like every reasonably large town hosts a zombie run. Science education is getting in on the trend, too. Colleges have classes about zombies, AMC (the network that broadcasts The [...]

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# Carnival of Mathematics #103

Welcome to the 103rd Carnival of Mathematics! The number 103 is prime, and it’s the “older” twin of a pair of twin primes as well—or is it the “younger” twin because it comes later? Regardless, 101 and 103 are twin primes. According to Tanya Khovanova’s site Number Gossip, 103 is not only prime and happy [...]

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# Mathematics, Live: A Conversation with Victoria Booth and Trachette Jackson

This is the second in a series of interviews I have been doing for the Association for Women in Mathematics. (You can read my first interview, with dynamicists Laura DeMarco and Amie Wilkinson, here.) In my interviews, I’m “listening in” on a conversation between two women mathematicians. I talked with mathematical biologists Victoria Booth and [...]

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# Can a Closed Set Be Open? Can an Open Set Be Closed? When Math and Language Collide

I gave my first midterm last week. I’m teaching a roughly junior level class for math majors, one of their first classes that is mostly focused on proofs rather than computations or algorithms. It is more abstract than most math classes they’ve taken up to this point. I love teaching this class because a class [...]

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