Math

It Came From Teichmueller Space! The Mathematical Adventures of Maryam Mirzakhani

It Came From Teichmueller Space! The Mathematical Adventures of Maryam Mirzakhani

A square, who works as a lawyer in the two-dimensional world of Flatland, sits down with his hexagonal grandson:   Taking nine squares, each an inch every way, I had put them together so as to make one large square, with a side of three inches, and I had hence proved to my grandson that – though it was impossible to see the inside of the square – yet we might ascertain the number of square in... »

The Woman Who Saved Shakespeare and Helped Win Two Wars: Cryptanalyst Elizebeth Friedman (Women In Science 20)

The Woman Who Saved Shakespeare and Helped Win Two Wars: Cryptanalyst Elizebeth Friedman (Women In Science 20)

Before Elizebeth and William Friedman, American cryptanalysis did not exist. The best thing we had, theoretically, were the occasional musings of Edgar Allen Poe, and even those were decidedly dilettantish put next to the organized efforts existing since the Elizabethan era in England. When World War I came to the United States, the armed forces simply did not know how to deal with the creation of... »

Detail from title page of J.S. Bach's Well-tempered Clavier

SoD X-post: Wikipedia 1, U Chicago News Office 0

[This post originally appeared on School of Doubt. Read it there or catch the beginning below.] I was browsing my news feed today when I came across the following video, posted by the University of Chicago’s News Office.   Since I’m about to get very critical, let me first talk briefly about the things Cheng does well in this video: 1) She gives a mostly understandable layperson&#... »

The Curve Who Became a Witch: The Mathematics of Maria Agnesi (Women In Science 18)

The Curve Who Became a Witch: The Mathematics of Maria Agnesi (Women In Science 18)

If any century would have favorably understood the manic blend of child shaming and twisted pride that is the typical Toddlers and Tiaras pageant parent, it was the Eighteenth. Child prodigies were in, and if you were aching to claw your way into the ranks of the minor nobility, your precocious son or daughter was your meal ticket. Some decades before Leopold Mozart dragged young Wolfgang to any p... »

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 —... »

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