Math

Five Great Novelty Education Songs for When You’re Done With Word Crimes

Five Great Novelty Education Songs for When You’re Done With Word Crimes

As Ryan posted today, thanks to Weird Al, it’s been a great week for nerds lying at the intersection of music and education.  To commemorate, here are five of my favorite all time educational songs of a humorous bent:   5. Tom Lehrer: New Math.  Lehrer’s song mocking the difficulty of New Math’s approach towards subtraction in different base systems is itself actually a real... »

Sofia Kovalevskaya: Love Makes All the Partial Difference

Sofia Kovalevskaya: Love Makes All the Partial Difference

Everybody needs love, but for some the striving after it so dominates their every action and decision that it becomes impossible to ever truly find. Veering between professions, friendships, and lovers, their desire for perfect love driving away by its intensity anybody who might have offered it, those possessed by such a need rarely live happily or end well, but their lives dazzle as against the ... »

Mary Somerville: Savior of British Mathematics.

Mary Somerville: Savior of British Mathematics.

In the 1750s, when France was foundering scientifically in the Cartesian shallows, it took Emilie du Châtelet’s French translation of Newton’s Principia to reinvigorate Continental physical science. Then it was England’s turn to toss itself headlong into the longest stretch of scientific stagnation it has ever known. From the age of Newton, Harvey, Halley, Boyle, Hooke, and Wren, there stretched a... »

Lab Track: Lateralus

Lab Track: Lateralus

Today’s lab track is math rock! I was hipped to this track over the weekend, which is kind of shameful, since I loooove odd and changing meters and this song came out way back in the Napster era. Oops. Tool’s Lateralus is inspired by the Fibonacci sequence, both in the lyrics (the syllables begin with 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, and then go back down) and the time signature (9/8, 8/8, 7/8 —... »

Emmy Noether Solves the Universe.

Emmy Noether Solves the Universe.

“Momentum is always conserved, except when it isn’t.” In high school physics, we learn all manner of conservation laws, one at a time, when they accidentally happen to pop up, without so much as a word of explanation for WHY nature seems to care so much about these quantities.  We’ve asked, of course, only to have our knuckles rapped for impertinence or, in our less corporal age, been referred to ... »

Math Girls:  A Manga on how to be a Trig Rock Star and Still Survive High School

Math Girls: A Manga on how to be a Trig Rock Star and Still Survive High School

“Open any math book and you’ll find a ton of equations.  Each one is an expression of someone’s thoughts.  There’s always someone on the other side of the math.  Someone trying to send us a message.  Someone trying to make a connection.  I work hard at math so I can make that connection.” – Math Girls.   Quick, name three female Marvel characters who are good at math. I spend an inordinate am... »

Sex, Cards, and Calculus: The Life of Émilie du Châtelet

Sex, Cards, and Calculus: The Life of Émilie du Châtelet

In popular mythology, the 1687 publication of Newton’s Principia was the culminating moment when one human told the world how the universe works, performed his century’s equivalent of the mic drop, and then received the adulation that was his due.  Of course, it worked nothing like that, and while England was quick to lionize his intellectual achievement, it took half a century for his ideas to ca... »

Creative Dissonance Episode 7 – Ceiliculus

Creative Dissonance Episode 7 – Ceiliculus

The long winter is over and we’re celebrating spring in the traditional way: with Irish dancing and higher order mathematics. This time we’re doing it with some friends. For those interested in what we were solving Polly had this: Ryan had this: And both of us had to solve this: »

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