Stories by Evelyn Lamb

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The Unbearable Literalism of Being a Mathematician or Why I Hate Literary Disclaimers
Mathematicians, like kleptomaniacs, take things literally. This is the story of how I finally snapped and wrote a strongly worded blog post about why literary disclaimers annoy me.

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A Belated Apology to Mozart and Modular Arithmetic
What do Mozart and modular arithmetic have in common? I used to think I didn't like them. I'm sorry, Mozart and modular arithmetic. Please forgive me.

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A Few of My Favorite Spaces: Cantor's Leaky Tent
The mathematical space called Cantor's leaky tent is connected but just barely: remove one point, and the whole thing falls apart.

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When the Mona Lisa Is NPHard
Bob Bosch and Tom Wexler have developed a new way to make your favorite masterpieces into connectthedots puzzles. All you need is a little bit of quantification and a lot of computing time.

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A Few of My Favorite Spaces: The Topologist's Sine Curve
The topologist's sine curve is a classic example of a space that is connected but not path connected: you can see the finish line, but you can't get there from here.

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Proof, Pudding, and Pi: Math Books that Will Make You Hungry
Need some summer reading? How to Bake Pi by Eugenia Cheng and The Proof and the Pudding by Jim Henle show us that math and cooking have more in common than you might think.

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Grapefruit Math
Spherical geometry: it's part of this complete breakfast.

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A Few of My Favorite Spaces: Fat Cantor Sets
Last month, I wrote about the Cantor set, a mathematical space that is an interesting mix of small and large. It's small in the sense that its length is 0.

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Mathematics, Live: A Conversation with Katie Steckles and Laura Taalman
Katie Steckles is a math communicator based in Manchester, England. Laura Taalman is a Professor of Mathematics at James Madison University who has been on leave to work first as the MathematicianinResidence at the Museum of Mathematics in New York City, and now as Senior Product Manager for Education at the 3Dprinter company MakerBot in Brooklyn. Both [...] 
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In Praise of Fractals and Poetry
This year for Math Poetry month, I read Proportions of the Heart: Poems that Play with Mathematics, a collection of poems by Emily Grosholz. 
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Lambert on Love and Hate in Geometry
The history of hyperbolic geometry is filled with hyperbolic quotes, and I came across a beautiful one earlier this semester in my math history class.

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The Cantor Function: Angel or Devil?
When you're looking at it, it just stays there, constant and still. But if you turn your back for just an instant at a point in the Cantor set, the function grows impossibly quickly. 
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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.

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What’s so Great about Continued Fractions?
The more I learn about continued fractions, the more enamored I am with them. Last week, when I wrote about how much better continued fractions are than the arbitrary decimal digits we usually use to describe numbers, I mentioned that continued fractions tell us the "best approximations" of irrational numbers. 
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Don’t Recite Digits to Celebrate Pi. Recite Its Continued Fraction Instead.
The digits of pi reciting contest is an alltoocommon Pi Day event. And as this year is a onceinacentury confluence of month/day/year with the first few decimal digits of pi, we might be in for more of those than usual. 
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Uber, but for Topological Spaces
So it's cold and rainy, and you're up a little too late trying to figure out why that one pesky assumption is necessary in a theorem. Wouldn't it be nice if you could just order up a space that was path connected but not locally connected? 
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Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension (Book Review)
Sometimes you want to learn a “new” multiplication algorithm from a general interest math book, sometimes you want to learn why voting systems are doomed to imperfection, and sometimes you just want to play with numbers, patterns, and pictures. 
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Gauss and Germain on Pleasure and Passion
Sophie German, who was not allowed to attend university, was the first woman to make significant original contributions to mathematical research. 
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The Media and the Genius Myth
I’ve been thinking a lot about the genius myth, the notion that in order to be a successful in certain disciplines, you need to have a special innate talent that can’t be learned. 
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Health
Understand the Measles Outbreak with this One Weird Number
15. That’s all you need to know about the measles. OK, that’s not true at all. There's no one weird trick that will give you a flat belly (besides lying facedown on something flat), and there's no one weird number that explains measles epidemiology. 
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Learn to Count like an Egyptian
Last semester, I began my math history class with some Babylonian arithmetic. The mathematics we were doing was easy—multiplying and adding numbers, solving quadratic equations by completing the square—but the base 60 system and the lack of a true zero made those basic operations challenging for my students. 
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Mathematics, Live: A Conversation with Amal Fahad and Rasha Osman, Part II
I had the pleasure of attending the 2nd annual Heidelberg Laureate Forum in September. Modeled after the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, it brings together recipients of prestigious awards in mathematics and computer science and young researchers in those areas. 
Roots of Unity
Mathematics, Live: A Conversation with Amal Fahad and Rasha Osman, Part I
I had the pleasure of attending the 2nd annual Heidelberg Laureate Forum in September. Modeled after the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, it brings together recipients of prestigious awards in mathematics and computer science and young researchers in those areas. 
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12 Things I Had Way Too Much Fun Writing This Year
It’s the season for family, hot chocolate, and yearinreview lists. Guess which one this is! Roots of Unity has been around for two years now, and I’m so glad I have a place to share some of the weird and wonderful math I think about. 
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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.