...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, November 14, 2014

Big Helping of Potpourri


...First off, biggest news of the week was the death of Alexander Grothendieck on Thursday, which I referenced (with links) in my Math-Frolic post earlier this morning:
http://math-frolic.blogspot.com/2014/11/to-thine-own-self-be-true-legend-passes.html

Otherwise, bunch-of-links from the week:

1)  A post from RJ Lipton on Stanislaw Ulam and an unproved conjecture:
http://rjlipton.wordpress.com/2014/11/08/a-conjecture-of-ulam/

2)  Chris Harrow explored some geometry of squares and octagons in this post:
http://casmusings.wordpress.com/2014/11/08/squares-and-octagons/

3) Several miscellaneous resources for teachers linked to from another blogger:
http://www.resourceaholic.com/2014/11/gems13.html

4)  Via the Sante Fe Institute, the mathematics of scaling from physics to biology to beyond:
http://tinyurl.com/qcc3zro

5)  Another piece on Common Core, but what's really telling are the 100+ vociferous (mostly-anti) views in the comments section:
http://tinyurl.com/mkc97g4
(...hard to see how this ends well :-((

6)  With Mersenne Primes in the news this week, Mike Lawler took the opportunity to explore them with his boys:
http://mikesmathpage.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/a-new-mersenne-prime-confirmed-today-well-sort-of/
(I don't remember how old I was when I first heard of Mersenne Primes, but I know I was a LOT older than Mike's kids! -- wonderful that they can be introduced to the subject at such an early age!)

7)  Another new video from Ed Frenkel on the secret world of math:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnqQ-BWMHrE

8)  Vanity Fair and Arne Duncan cover Sal Khan (Khan Academy) here:
http://tinyurl.com/ol8qx29

9)  A new Carnival of Mathematics here:
http://cavmaths.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/carnival-of-mathematics-116/

10)  Princeton Alumni mag. profiles recent Fields Medalist Manjul Bhargava:
https://paw.princeton.edu/issues/2014/11/12/pages/7752/index.xml

11)  Nautilus covers the amazing, award-winning work of Japanese mathematician Kokichi Sugihara on optical illusions:
http://nautil.us/issue/19/illusions/the-illusion-machine-that-teaches-us-how-we-see

12)  Wow! Terry Tao appearing on "Colbert Nation" this week:
http://tinyurl.com/mfdfoo9

13)  Interesting Andrew Gelman take on the massive-online Facebook experiment from awhile back:
http://tinyurl.com/pqugsuv

14)  I'll end with this somewhat tangential (but I think highly important) piece to mathematics... NEJM addresses the crucial topic of communicating scientific "uncertainty" to a public that largely misunderstands science:
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1413816


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