Wednesday May 25th 2016

‘Math stories’ Archives

The Whole Universe Catalog

The Whole Universe Catalog

A seemingly endless variety of food was sprawled over several tables at the home of Judith L. Baxter and her husband, mathematician Stephen D. Smith, in Oak Park, Ill., on a cool Friday evening in September 2011. Canapés, homemade meatballs, cheese plates and grilled [Read More]

Charting the history of western art with math

Charting the history of western art with math

  For more than a century, researchers have used statistics to study writing style in a sort of literary forensics technique called stylometry. In 1901, physicist T. C. Mendenhall famously measured word-length frequency in William Shakespeare’s works and reported [Read More]

Can an Equation be a Poem?

Can an Equation be a Poem?

April is Mathematics Awareness Month. April is alsoNational Poetry Month. Coincidence? Yep, almost definitely. But it’s also an opportunity: I’d like to propose that we—you and I, at least until the end of this blog post—merge the two and celebrate the first-ever [Read More]

Two Guys Dancing about Math

Two Guys Dancing about Math

  A typical performance by dancers Karl Schaffer and Erik Stern begins with a handshake. However, it’s not simple: the two men fail to connect, missing hands and falling past each other, over and over, in a variety of ways. When they do finally grasp hands, they have [Read More]

Foraging flights

Foraging flights

First, he tracked basking sharks—filterfeeding leviathans that look like supersized great whites—in the coastal waters near Great Britain, and then Atlantic cod, leatherback turtles, Magellanic penguins, and bigeye tuna. He’s wrangled and tagged ocean sunfish, blue [Read More]

Descartes’ Decipherer

Descartes’ Decipherer

Erik-Jan Bos, a philosopher at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, unearthed research gold with an Internet search. In putting together a critical edition of René Descartes’ correspondence, due out in 2014, he discovered a stolen, never-before-published letter from [Read More]

Prize awarded for largest mathematical proof

Prize awarded for largest mathematical proof

  The largest proof in mathematics is colossal in every dimension – from the 100-plus people needed to crack it to its 15,000 pages of calculations. Now the man who helped complete a key missing piece of the proof has won a prize. In early November, Michael [Read More]

Turning math into money

Turning math into money

Mathematician Richard Hamilton was named a co-winner of the 2011 Shaw Prize for Mathematical Sciences. The honor comes with a $500K check. Hamilton is best known as the architect of the Ricci flow, a mathematical process that formed the foundation of Grisha Perelman’s [Read More]

Trig Shots

Trig Shots

What’s the hardest straight-in shot in pool? Mathematician tries to find out in this article for New Scientist. This article is behind a paywall and I haven’t yet uploaded a pdf. Email me, and I’ll send you a copy. [Read More]

Million dollar math

Million dollar math

My first feature was a piece about unsolved problems in mathematics, published in Discover in 2006. Read it here. [Read More]

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Latest Topics

Zombie physics

Zombie physics

For Alex Alemi and Matt Bierbaum, physics graduate students at Cornell University in the US, there really was no [Read More]

The Mars Anomaly

The Mars Anomaly

The presence of water isn’t the only Mars mystery scientists are keen to probe. Another centers around a seemingly [Read More]

The Power of 1

The Power of 1

Kent Haffer remembers when his oncologist approached him with an unusual idea. It was 2013, and Haffer, a 55-year-old [Read More]

Feeling Objects that Aren’t There

Feeling Objects that Aren’t There

Imagine this. You wake up in the morning to the irritating buzz of your alarm. Instead of fumbling for a snooze button, [Read More]

You Swine!

You Swine!

RODNEY WOODSON never set out to be a pig trapper. He joined the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency because he was [Read More]

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