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Roots of Unity

Roots of Unity

Mathematics: learning it, doing it, celebrating it.

  • A Few of My Favorite Spaces: the Infinite Earring

    A Few of My Favorite Spaces: the Infinite Earring

    By Evelyn Lamb | 23 hours ago |

    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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  • A Belated Apology to Mozart and Modular Arithmetic

    A Belated Apology to Mozart and Modular Arithmetic

    By Evelyn Lamb | June 27, 2015 |

    My first musical love was Beethoven. The 2nd movement of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony was the first piece of music that made me want to cry. When I started to play viola, the cello suites were the gateway to my long, passionate relationship with Bach. […]

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  • A Few of My Favorite Spaces: Cantor's Leaky Tent

    A Few of My Favorite Spaces: Cantor's Leaky Tent

    By Evelyn Lamb | June 20, 2015 |

    I must confess that I didn’t know about Cantor’s Leaky Tent until I wrote about the π-Base , a website that collects information about interesting mathematical spaces. It has such a delightfully whimsical name that I had to learn more about it. […]

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  • When the <i>Mona Lisa</i> Is NP-Hard

    When the Mona Lisa Is NP-Hard

    By Evelyn Lamb | May 31, 2015 |

    I’ve always thought the Mona Lisa would be better as a connect-the-dots puzzle, haven’t you? Luckily for us, mathematician Robert (Bob) Bosch and computer scientist Tom Wexler of Oberlin College are pioneering a technique to turn your favorite masterpiece into a tangle of dots and crossing lines. […]

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  • A Few of My Favorite Spaces: The Topologist's Sine Curve

    A Few of My Favorite Spaces: The Topologist's Sine Curve

    By Evelyn Lamb | May 28, 2015 |

    There are four basic properties of sets that beginning analysis and topology students see: open, closed , compact, and connected. Of those properties, it seems like connectedness should be the easiest. Connected has a pretty clear meaning in English. […]

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