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Stories by Evelyn Lamb

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...

January 26, 2015 — Evelyn Lamb
Mathematics, Live: A Conversation with Amal Fahad and Rasha Osman, Part II

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...

January 19, 2015 — Evelyn Lamb

12 Things I Had Way Too Much Fun Writing This Year

It’s the season for family, hot chocolate, and year-in-review 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...

December 31, 2014 — Evelyn Lamb

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...

December 25, 2014 — Evelyn Lamb
Online Game Crowd-Sources Theorems

Online Game Crowd-Sources Theorems

Now is your chance to prove some theorems without knowing what they mean! Chris Staecker, a mathematician at Fairfield University, created the game Nice Neighbors to get crowd-sourced solutions to problems from a field called digital topology...

December 23, 2014 — Evelyn Lamb

Your Telephone Is Lying to You About Sounds

Telephones lie about sounds because odd numbers aren't even. Once again with those integers and sound perception! Telephones can only pick up frequencies above 300 or 400 Hertz (cycles per second, also called Hz), but most adults’ speaking voices are lower than 300 Hz (approximately the D above middle C)...

December 9, 2014 — Evelyn Lamb

The Math Geek Holiday Gift Guide

Looking for a gift that says, "Hey, I know you like math"? Look no further. There is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to wonderful mathematical things to give to people, but here are some of the coolest items I've seen this year...

November 23, 2014 — Evelyn Lamb

Beyond Emmy and Sophie: Resources for Learning about Women in Math

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 — Evelyn Lamb

Build Your Own Fractal with MegaMenger!

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 — Evelyn Lamb

Another Reason to Love the Number Seven

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 — Evelyn Lamb

A Computer Scientist Tells Mathematicians How To Write Proofs

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 — Evelyn Lamb
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Scientific American Health & Medicine

Scientific American Health & Medicine