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Posts Tagged "mathematics communication"

Roots of Unity

The Math Wars, Lewis Carroll Style

Lewis Carroll in 1863, photographed by Oscar Gustave Rejlander. Image: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

In 1879, Charles Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, published an odd little book called Euclid and his Modern Rivals (available for free at the Internet Archive). Though it takes the form of a play, it is a defense of Euclid’s Elements as the best textbook for geometry. Carroll’s introduction lays out his purpose and why [...]

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Roots of Unity

Does 1+2+3… Really Equal -1/12?

Divergent series Lucille says, "1+2+3...=-1/12." Video from Fox, gif from fanpop.com.

A Numberphile video posted earlier this month claims that the sum of all the positive integers is -1/12. I’m usually a fan of the Numberphile crew, who do a great job making mathematics exciting and accessible, but this video disappointed me. There is a meaningful way to associate the number -1/12 to the series 1+2+3+4…, [...]

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Roots of Unity

Apply Now for an AAAS Mass Media Fellowship

The 2012 Mass Media Fellows at orientation in Washington, DC. Image: Jessica McDonald.

I started writing about math and science in June 2012 thanks to an AAAS Mass Media Fellowship sponsored by the American Mathematical Society. Every year, the fellowship provides opportunities for math and science graduate students to work for mass media outlets such as Scientific American (where I worked), NPR, the Chicago Tribune, and so on. [...]

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Roots of Unity

These Hypocycloids Will Make You Happy

A 2-cusped hypocycloid rolling inside a 3-cusped hypocycloid rolling inside a 4-cusped hypocycloid... Image: Greg Egan. Used with permission.

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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Roots of Unity

A Cuddly, Crocheted Klein Quartic Curve

A cuddly Klein quartic. Image copyright Daina Taimina. Used with permission.

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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Roots of Unity

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

3 times 7 is...25? What?

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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Roots of Unity

When Numbers Are Used for a Witch Hunt

One of the original Victorian Courtrooms at the Galleries of Justice Museum. Image: Fayerollinson, via Wikimedia Commons.

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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Roots of Unity

Carnival of Mathematics #103

Image: David Simmonds, via flickr.

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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Roots of Unity

Step Right Up! It’s the Carnival of Mathematics!

Circles, radii, and angles in a ferris wheel at the Riley County 4-H Fair. Image: Judy Klimek, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Carnival of Mathematics is a monthly blogging round-up of fun math-related blog posts organized by the friendly folks of the Aperiodical. This month, Michelle Blair of My Summation is hosting Carnival #102. Head on over to find some gems you may have missed in the last month. (Hint: you should check out the sonnets [...]

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Roots of Unity

I’m Not Celebrating Pi Day This Year

On the one hand, I like Pi Day because I get to eat pizza and/or pie, and I like things that get people excited about math, but on the other hand, I’m an adult, and I get to eat pizza and/or pie whenever I want, Pi Day or no. Like Matt at Math Goes Pop, [...]

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