...a companion blog to "Math-Frolic," specifically for interviews, book reviews, weekly-linkfests, and longer posts or commentary than usually found at the Math-Frolic site.

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"Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty – a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show." ---Bertrand Russell (1907) Rob Gluck

"I have come to believe, though very reluctantly, that it [mathematics] consists of tautologies. I fear that, to a mind of sufficient intellectual power, the whole of mathematics would appear trivial, as trivial as the statement that a four-legged animal is an animal." ---Bertrand Russell (1957)

******************************************************************** Rob Gluck

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Picks


A big juicy helping of potpourri this week:

1)  Quantum mechanics now violating the pigeonhole principle? It's oft-said that if you think you 'understand' quantum mechanics, then you don't, because it isn't comprehensible; and now this adds to the confusion:
https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/context/you-shouldn%E2%80%99t-try-pigeonhole-quantum-physics

2)  Long, interesting post from Tim Gowers… math over my head, but still interesting just for the glimpse it gives of how his mind operates:
http://gowers.wordpress.com/2014/07/19/mini-monomath/

3)  I'll give another plug to these folks, who are trying to make a documentary around the topic of networks and Bacon-Erdös numbers:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/395786474/erdos-bacon

4)  Vi Hart explains transcendental numbers, the number line… and darts, as only she can:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Swm8tTLWirU&feature=youtu.be
...and h/t to Evelyn Lamb for pointing out this arXiv contribution from Vi Hart (and Henry Segerman) on the symmetry of quaternions:
http://arxiv.org/pdf/1404.6596v1.pdf
(does Vi have other publications/submissions?)
Evelyn's own take on the work, btw, is here (from May): http://tinyurl.com/lrfqd6m

5)  A survey is being conducted to study the philosophical intuitions of mathematicians "relating to the objects and methodology of mathematics." If you are a mathematician and can take time to participate please go here (they'd like as large a sample as possible, so feel free to pass on to others also):
http://goo.gl/Gu5S4E

6)  Another teacher reports their experience flipping the classroom (geometry):
http://www.siemensstemacademy.com/index.cfm?event=showBlogPost&c=&postid=2240

7)  Not for the first time, the argument that we ought drop calculus from high school curricula to make room for computer programming and statistics courses, is made:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevensalzberg/2014/07/17/should-we-stop-teaching-calculus-in-high-school/

8)  A little bit of Boolean algebra history:
http://www.businessinsider.com/boolean-algebra-computers-2014-7

9)  "Why Do Americans Stink At Math?" …more math education debate from the NY Times:
http://tinyurl.com/n76cl6v
Meanwhile, in the Common Core debate, a California teacher pleads with parents to come view her classroom, before making up their minds:
http://fawnnguyen.com/come-observe/

10)  Cliff Pickover's newest offering, coming out in time for Christmas, looks like a pleaser for readers here, "The Mathematics Devotional":
http://tinyurl.com/m42v7eq

11)  In honor of the Martin Gardner centennial this year, interviews with Martin Gardner (accessible online); always good stuff:
http://martin-gardner.org/Interviews.html
In case you missed it, you can also visit the little carnival game of Martin Gardner's I offered at Math-Frolic this week:
http://math-frolic.blogspot.com/2014/07/lil-game-from-martin-gardner.html

12)  There's a film based on Alan Turing's life, "The Imitation Game," on the way, and James Grime (for The Aperiodical) has it covered:
http://aperiodical.com/2014/07/an-alan-turing-expert-watches-the-the-imitation-game-trailer/

13)  A Forbes writer summarizes Keith Devlin's view of the future of math (good overview!):
http://ow.ly/zy5gS 

14)  MathMunch honors Bill Thurston's creative math mind in their latest post:
http://mathmunch.org/2014/07/23/zippergons-high-fashion-and-really-big-numbers/ 

15)  Of airplane crashes and statistics:
http://understandinguncertainty.org/another-tragic-cluster-how-surprised-should-we-be

16)  Finally, great new (90-min.) interview from "7th Avenue Project" with Stanford mathematician Persi Diaconis this week (thanks to Noson Yanofsky for passing it along to me):
http://7thavenueproject.com/post/92353298895/persi-diaconis-magic-mathematics
(includes talk of Steve Martin, magic, James Randi, Ricky Jay, stealing, and oh yeah, a smidgen of math, but really more magic)
 In fact what better way to head into the weekend than by re-visiting Steve Martin as "The Great Flydini," an act it turns out Persi, believe-it-or-not, was partially responsible (or to blame) for:




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