Skip to main content

"mathematics"96 articles archived since 1845

Strings, Geometry, and the Ultimate Reality: The Debate

Strings, Geometry, and the Ultimate Reality: The Debate

Can strings be the ultimate constituents of the universe–more fundamental than matter or energy, and even than space or time? If they’re not made of matter or energy, what are they, then?

July 30, 2011 — Davide Castelvecchi

A Few of My Favorite Spaces: The Cantor Set

Last month, I wrote about the -Base, a website that serves a similar function to the book Counterexamples in Topology. I'm teaching a topology class this semester, and it's been fun to revisit some good counterexamples.

March 26, 2015 — Evelyn Lamb

The Shocking Failure of British Rail Travel to Respect the Triangle Inequality

I spent about a month in the UK earlier this summer, and that meant I took a lot of train trips. I love riding trains: the feeling of endless possibility I get when I look at the departure boards, the countryside rolling by, the fantastic people-watching, the two-hour delay between Edinburgh and Manchester because a [...]

July 23, 2014 — Evelyn Lamb

The Need for Belonging in Math and Science

From her earliest memories, Catherine Good was good at math. By second grade she was performing at the fourth grade level, sometimes even helping the teacher grade other students’ work.

October 21, 2013 — Scott Barry Kaufman

Build Your Own Fractal with MegaMenger!

Later this month, people will be gathering at museums and schools around the world to build giant Menger sponges as part of a global fractal extravaganza called MegaMenger.

October 9, 2014 — Evelyn Lamb

Beyond Emmy and Sophie: Resources for Learning about Women in Math

Today is Ada Lovelace Day, an international celebration of women in science, technology, engineering, and math. If you’d like to read about women in math for the occasion, you're in serious danger of coming across an article about Hypatia, Emmy Noether, Sophie Germain, or Sofia Kovalevskaya.

October 14, 2014 — Evelyn Lamb

The Math Wars, Lewis Carroll Style

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).

March 4, 2014 — Evelyn Lamb

World Cup Prediction Mathematics Explained

The World Cup is back, and everyone's got a pick for the winner. Gamblers have been predicting the outcome of sporting contests since the first foot race across the savannah, but in recent years a unique type of statistical analysis has taken over the prediction business.

June 11, 2014 — Michael Moyer

Happy Birthday, Evelyn Boyd Granville!

Evelyn Boyd Granville, the second African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics, turns 90 today (May 1, 2014). I first heard her name in a talk by Patricia Kenschaft about African American mathematicians.

May 1, 2014 — Evelyn Lamb

What We Talk about When We Talk about Holes

For Halloween, I wrote about a very scary topic: higher homotopy groups. Homotopy is an idea in topology, the field of math concerned with properties of shapes that stay the same no matter how you squish or stretch them, as long as you don’t tear them or glue things together.

December 25, 2014 — Evelyn Lamb
The Roots of Unity Year in Review

The Roots of Unity Year in Review

A year ago today, I published my first post on this blog! A lot has happened in that year, and I have had tons of fun with Roots of Unity. My favorite number is six, so here are my six most popular posts of the past year.

January 7, 2014 — Evelyn Lamb

Can Synesthesia in Autism Lead to Savantism?

Daniel Tammet has memorized Pi to the 22,514th digit. He speaks ten different languages, including one of his own invention, and he can multiply enormous sums in his head within a matter of seconds.

December 4, 2013 — Dana Smith
These Hypocycloids Will Make You Happy

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 [...]

December 4, 2013 — Evelyn Lamb

Celebrate our 170th Anniversary with us!

Get 2 years of All Access for just $170