Image: DAVID JOYCE'S HOMEPAGE
David Joyce, a professor at Clark University, has collected a wealth of fascinating pages on mathematical topics ranging from wallpaper groups to Mandelbrot sets to kaleidoscopes (there is even a nifty kaleidoscope java applet you can play with). Other pages provide short courses on trigonometry and complex numbers; lessons in mathematical history; a copy of Euclid's Elements; and all 23 of David Hilbert's famous problems.
Name practically any key mathematical figure in history from 1680 B.C.E. to the present and you will find a rich biography of that person here. What's more, these sketches include crosslinks within the text to the subject's collaborators, references and pictures. Another area of the site reviews math in different cultures through the ages, as well as universally important subjects. And the Mathematicians of the Day page features which scholars were born or died on the day's date.
We are 99.96 percent sure that you'll learn something at this site. Much as Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy pages point out stellar errors in popular thought, this site from Paul Cox takes on mathematical illiteracy. The actual glossary itself contains many great examples of twisted statistics¿from Simpson's Paradox to simple exaggeration. And additional pages offer reader submissions of math gone bad; cases of bad math in advertising and the news; confounding puzzles; further reading; and related links.
Not just anyone can take on Fermat and challenges like his last theorem, which required very advanced mathematics to crack. But not all open problems demand the attention of specialists. Inspired by the mathematician Paul Erd¿s, who created a tradition of posing unsolved problems to students and offering prizes for solutions, this site provides a great collection of mathematical mysteries¿mostly in graph theory, knot theory, sorting networks and finite state machines. Don't worry if you don't know anything about these topics going in. The site also offers stories, activities and other materials to help you prepare to work on various problems. These pages are currently undergoing renovations; be sure to bookmark them for future reference.
If you're looking for a Web site on a particular mathematical subject, here is a good place to start. Since 1996 the creators of this site have collected more than 200 links¿or knots in the web of math pages online¿covering a broad range of topics and site types. Browsing through past entries, you will find online math journals, puzzle pages, reference databases and much more. You can also search the entire collection to zero in on a specific area quickly. And if one of your favorite math sites is missing, Knot a Braid of Links¿otherwise known as KaBoL¿also welcomes suggestions.
Back to Sci/Tech Web Awards 2001