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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


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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


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The world's favorite number is seven, at least if the result of a poll conducted by Alex Bellos is to be believed. Some people like it because it is prime, some because they have a lot of sevens in their birthdates.
September 29, 2014


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Samuel Arbesman recently wrote about incorrect mathematical conjectures. I wanted to add one of my favorites, which came up in my math history class a couple weeks ago.
September 26, 2014


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Believe it or not, I do have friends who would describe themselves as not liking math, and every so often one of them will share this meme on Facebook: And then Satan said, "Put the alphabet in math." There are different background pictures each time the meme pops up, but the text is always the [...]
September 24, 2014


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Evelyn Boyd Granville was one of the first African American women to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics. She recently turned 90, and I wrote a post here to celebrate.
September 5, 2014


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As I told my class on Thursday, the theme of the first week of our math history course was "easy algebra is hard in base 60." We started the semester in ancient Mesopotamia, trying to understand Babylonian* mathematical notation and decipher Plimpton 322, an enigmatic tablet from about 1800 BCE.
August 31, 2014


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If you don't know what to do, do something. That's one of my mottos when I teach math (and it's probably good life advice too). Last year, I taught introductory analysis (basically calculus with the juicy bits left in), one of the first prooforiented classes students take.
August 28, 2014


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I'll be teaching a math history class for the first time this semester. I'm excited to be teaching it, but I've noticed that preparing for this class has been very different from preparing for other classes I've taught, which have all been math content courses.
August 22, 2014


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On Wednesday, four mathematicians will receive the prestigious Fields Medal at the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) in Seoul.
August 11, 2014


Roots of Unity

Technology
In the course of being a math person on Twitter, I have run across some mathrelated Twitter bots and feeds. It would just be mean to grade my human tweeps, but I have no qualms about rating the bots!
July 28, 2014


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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 peoplewatching, the twohour delay between Edinburgh and Manchester because a [...]
July 23, 2014


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Warning: contains minor spoilers for The Fault in Our Stars. I recently read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, now a major motion picture that has led to theft in Amsterdam and a shortage of dry eyes in movie theaters around the world.
July 10, 2014


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As I wrap up a trip to the UK, I reflect on the many objects of constant width I encountered here. I’ll let Numberphile tell you a little more about objects of constant width.
July 4, 2014


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"Now and then we pluck numbers from the blur...numbers which have no names except the ones we might now give them...souvenirs from alien, unknowable worlds." Really Big Numbers by Richard Evan Schwartz Really Big Numbers by Richard Schwartz, a mathematician at Brown University, is the first children’s book published by the American Mathematical Society.
June 30, 2014


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Whether you write it 6/28 or 28/6, today is a perfect day. A perfect number is a number that is the sum of its factors besides itself, and 6 (1+2+3) and 28 (1+2+4+7+14) are the first two perfect numbers.
June 28, 2014


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Last month, I wrote about group theory via monkeys, and it got me thinking about the associative property. A mathematical group consists of a collection of stuff: integers, or rational numbers, or even something more abstract; and an operation that combines any two elements of your stuff into another element of stuff.
June 23, 2014


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What does math taste like? Andrea Hawksley recently posted a recipe for Fibonacci lemonade, a drink that is inspired by the famous Fibonacci sequence: 1,1,2,3,5,8, and so on.
June 16, 2014


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How Not to Be Wrong by Jordan Ellenberg. Image courtesy of Penguin Press. How Not to Be Wrong, the first popular math book by University of WisconsinMadison math professor Jordan Ellenberg, just hit the shelves.
May 31, 2014


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Today on the radio, I heard an announcer say, “Chicago has a higher murder rate than New York and Los Angeles combined.” The compassionate human being in me cringed, and the statistical pedant in me also cringed.
May 27, 2014


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I was in New York City earlier this month, and in addition to finally having an excuse to ride the Staten Island Ferry (I gave a talk there), I managed to make it to a few of the excellent museums in the city.
May 23, 2014


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Monkeys! Mathematical groups! 4dimensional geometry! Together at last! This sculpture, called More Fun than a Hypercube of Monkeys, answers an open question: has the quaternion group ever appeared as the symmetry group of an object?
May 19, 2014


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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


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In February, I wrote about Euclid’s parallel postulate, the black sheep of the big, happy family of definitions, postulates, and axioms that make up the foundations of Euclidean geometry.
April 21, 2014


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We all know a lot of measurements about ourselves. You are some number of feet or meters tall. You weigh some number of pounds, kilograms, or stone.
April 11, 2014
