Pi is very old
The number pi = 3.14159265358979323846… is arguably the only mathematical topic from very early history that is still being researched today. The Babylonians used the approximation pi ≈ 3. The Egyptian Rhind Papyrus, dated roughly 1650 BCE, suggests pi = 32/18 = 3.16049…. Early Indian mathematicians believed pi = . . . → Read More: Pi day 3.14 (14)
Scientists through the ages have noted, often with some astonishment, not only the remarkable success of mathematics in describing the natural world, but also the fact that the best mathematical formulations are usually those that are the most beautiful. And almost all research mathematicians pepper their description of important mathematical work with terms like “unexpected,” . . . → Read More: Why mathematics is beautiful and why that matters
Physicist Max Tegmark has just published an interesting new book entitled Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality. In this very lucidly written book, Tegmark takes the reader on a tour of modern physics and then introduces his theory of the ultimate nature of the universe.
Tegmark starts out by . . . → Read More: Max Tegmark’s “Our Mathematical Universe”
Numerous studies have been done trying to assess the degree to which mathematical ability is inborn or learned. Especially since the era of brain imaging made neurological enquiry realistic.
For example, in a 2011 study, Melissa Libertus, a psychologist at Johns Hopkins University, displayed briefly flashing groups of blue and yellow dots on a computer . . . → Read More: Are our brains hard-wired for numbers?
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[Editor's note: This is reprinted from The Conversation, 18 Dec 2013. The original article is authored by Michael Rose and Jonathan Borwein.]
The warmth on your face, the scenic view outside — such delights are delivered to you by countless photons from the sun. But believe it or not, these photons move in much the . . . → Read More: Tipsy tottering, sunlight and the smell of coffee: it’s all random
In July 2012, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner startled the world of physics by establishing the Fundamental Physics Prize, with awards of $3,000,000 each to nine physicists, including well-known cosmologists Alan Guth, Andrei Linde, Juan Maldacena and Edward Witten, among others. These physicists now constitute a committee to select future awardees. The 2013 awardee was Alexander . . . → Read More: Yuri Milner to award $3M prizes to mathematicians
The 2012 edition of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) are in, and once Asia leads the way, with China, Singapore, Taiwan, Korea and Japan scoring very well, while many first-world nations, such as Australia, the U.K. and the U.S., lag behind.
In Canada, which placed 13th overall in mathematics, “alarm . . . → Read More: PISA international test scores show Australia, Canada, UK, USA lagging
In the latest issue (December 2013) of the Notices of the American Society, noted mathematician Doron Zeilberger has published an Opinion piece on the state of pure mathematics, and then contrasts this with experimental mathematics. His article, entitled “[Contemporary Pure] Math Is Far Less Than the Sum of Its [Too Numerous] Parts,” is available here.
. . . → Read More: Doron Zeilberger comments on experimental mathematics in AMS Notices
Homer contemplates pi
Mathematics in the Simpsons
In a newly published book, Simon Singh presents a too little-known back story about the Simpsons TV show: underlying much of the clever screenplay are numerous references to somewhat sophisticated mathematics both in the Simpsons and in the follow-up Futurama.
Simon Singh is no stranger to either . . . → Read More: Pi in the Simpsons