...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, August 29, 2014

Friday Wrap-up


Another week from the world of math:

1)  Article touting the role of rote memorization in early math education:
http://tinyurl.com/lj759wd

2)  Fawn Nguyen describes the beginning of her classroom school year, as perhaps only she can:
http://fawnnguyen.com/first-two-days-school/

3)  LA Times op-ed on the gender-gap in mathematics:
http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-su-women-in-mathematics-20140826-story.html

4)  Of sheepdogs, herding, and mathematics:
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-28936251

5)  For some reason I've never much cared for Sudoku but do enjoy Ken-Ken, and apparently someone finds the latter useful as a classroom tool as well:
http://www.mrlsmath.com/free-teaching-tool-kenken-classroom/ 

6)  Evelyn Lamb promotes proofs by contradiction this week at "Roots of Unity":
http://tinyurl.com/p7dogqr 

7)  Week wouldn't feel complete without linking to at least one Common Core-related post:
http://www.mathforgrownups.com/common-core-common-sense-myths-about-the-standards-part-4/

8)  And in the more-physics-than-math category I'll toss in another fascinating read from Natalie Wolchover and Quanta Magazine on recently discovered "tetra quarks" (particle physics just goes on and on and on!):
http://www.simonsfoundation.org/quanta/20140827-quark-quartet-fuels-quantum-feud/

9)  Lastly, I'll re-cite a couple of Math-Frolic posts from the end of last week for any who missed them, because I thought the short video "Prime Verite" was cool (and it involves the Freeman Dyson/Hugh Montgomery interaction I've referenced before):
http://math-frolic.blogspot.com/2014/08/short-film-about-prime-numbers.html

…and the James Tanton video from the day before the above relates to the same notion:
http://math-frolic.blogspot.com/2014/08/epiphanies.html


Friday, August 22, 2014

Another Friday Collection


From this week's wonderful world of math:

1)  Shortly, after last week's potpourri came out the 113th Carnival of Mathematics went up; if by any chance you missed it, a lot more mathy links there:
http://www.walkingrandomly.com/?p=5537

2)  I've referenced this research before, but just last week NPR covered findings that indicate winners of the Fields Medal (and other prizes) actually lowers one's future professional productivity:
http://www.npr.org/2014/08/18/341283394/how-does-winning-fields-medal-effect-mathematicians-productivity

3)  More Deborah Mayo on p-values:
http://errorstatistics.com/2014/08/17/are-p-values-error-probabilities-installment-1/

4)   A post from the always-thoughtful mathematician Robert Talbert (on goals):
http://chronicle.com/blognetwork/castingoutnines/2014/08/18/the-four-things-i-am-really-working-on-this-semester/

5)  In a 'good news' story, the first five winners of the "Breakthrough Prize" for mathematics have agreed to donate a portion of their awards to support math graduate students in the developing world:
https://breakthroughprize.org/?controller=Page&action=news&news_id=19

6)  Peter Woit reports from a conference with a focus on number theory relating to unification in physics:
http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=7114

7)  Much of the recent ICM conference in Seoul has now been uploaded to YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/user/ICM2014VOD/feed
Also, for the pros out there, Terry Tao has put up a blog post covering a finding announced at the conference ("Large Gaps Between Consecutive Prime Numbers"):
http://terrytao.wordpress.com/2014/08/21/large-gaps-between-consecutive-prime-numbers/


8)  The 3 Lawler boys work out the symmetries of a cube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gN86FeO_Lmg&feature=youtu.be

9)  Nassim Taleb takes this stab at what probability is (pdf):
http://ow.ly/AAxAO 

10)  What better way to round out 10 offerings than with another excellent podcast from the "7th Avenue Project," this time with Jordan Ellenberg (make time for this if you can; it's 67 mins.):
https://soundcloud.com/7th-avenue-project/jordan-ellenberg-radio-interview-how-not-to-be-wrong 
(h/t again to Dr. Noson Yanofsky for pointing me to this)


Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Bonanza


ICYMthem:

1)  Fun li'l anecdote about topologist Egbert Rudolf van Kampen from MathOverflow.net last week:
http://mathoverflow.net/questions/178104/a-topologist-is-not-a-mathematician-a-small-question

2)  New popular statistics (…I know, that sounds like an oxymoron! ;-)) book out from Gary Smith, "Standard Deviations":
http://tinyurl.com/poefeew
(haven't read it, but it's from a professor at my alma mater, so oughta be good)

3)  Another nice geometry puzzle from Presh Talwalkar this week:
http://tinyurl.com/m6pefvp

4)  Thoughts on problem-solving from Mike Lawler:
http://mikesmathpage.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/problem-solving/

5)  Not as much 'meat' here as I'd like, but still happy to see "recursion" (one of my favorite topics) wiggle its way into the popular press:
http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2014/08/12/to-infinity-and-beyond/

6)  A little something from Vanderbilt on learning math and cognitive development:
http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2014/08/math-teaching/

7)  Again, Common Core; this time, division of fractions:
http://tinyurl.com/mnwqyu4

8)  In the math-editorial genre, Doron Zeilberger is characteristically annoyed with something… and this time it's Max Tegmark:
http://www.math.rutgers.edu/~zeilberg/Opinion138.html

9)  Meanwhile, Cathy O'Neil points us to a new information/assistance site, stemforums.com, that many may find useful:
http://tinyurl.com/m3qu2da

10)  Just notified that Alfred Posamentier and Ingmar Lehmann have a new book out, "Mathematical Curiosities" -- I feel fairly safe in predicting, it's GOOOD!:
http://tinyurl.com/o4glt93


11)  Will close out with a simple, fun Martin Gardner riddle tweeted by @WWMGT this week ;-):

"A bus leaves M for T at noon. An hour later a cyclist leaves T for M, moving slower. When bus and bike meet, which will be further from M?"


==> On a sidenote, CONGRATULATIONS to Numberphile for reaching 1 million subscribers on YouTube this past week… pretty impressive for a math site (and well-deserved)!!!
https://www.youtube.com/user/numberphile


Friday, August 8, 2014

Friday Potpourri


Another week's-worth of schtuff:

1)  Sue VanHattum has started a new "Math Mama's Gazette" for students and teachers. First issue here:
http://mathmamawrites.blogspot.com/2014/08/math-mamas-gazette-issue-number-one.html

2)  Stephen Stigler's 7 pillars of statistics:
http://blogs.sas.com/content/iml/2014/08/05/stiglers-seven-pillars-of-statistical-wisdom/

3)  The fifth run of Keith Devlin's "Introduction to Mathematical Thinking" (10-week) MOOC course begins around end of September:
https://www.coursera.org/course/maththink

4)  A follow-up to last year's claimed proof for the Millennium Prize Navier-Stokes equations (now being re-worked):
http://tinyurl.com/ohm44q9

5)  No doubt, inevitable, a "Common Core Math For Parents For Dummies" is now on the way:
http://christopherdanielson.wordpress.com/2014/08/05/news-a-new-project/

6)  Frequentist and Bayesian interpretations of statistics (side-by-side):
http://www.workinginuncertainty.co.uk/probtheory_axioms.shtml

7)  Mike Lawler offers this follow-up take to a Keith Devlin blog piece:
http://tinyurl.com/leffaq5

8)  Popular science writer Carl Zimmer ventures into the land of statistics with a piece for Nautilus on the 'null hypothesis' (interestingly placed under the heading of, "Epistemology," and using Bigfoot as a working example):
http://nautil.us/issue/16/nothingness/why-we-cant-rule-out-bigfoot 

9)  And for those who just like to play with crunched numbers, here's an oddball look at taxi-driver tipping in NY City:
http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-08-07/tipping-taxi-drivers-data-analysis-cant-explain-these-puzzles

10)  Lastly, not math, but I'll plug a small volume I just finished and enjoyed: "The Universe" edited by John Brockman. I assume a number of readers here, fancy, as I do, reading popular cosmology/physics books, though I find few I can wholeheartedly endorse for lay readers. This volume though is a wonderful compendium of many different thinkers ranging over a variety of topics/debates within cosmology, and very readable -- if you're familiar with the sorts of compendiums Brockman puts out, then you already know that you do or don't enjoy this sort of thing. Some of the essays are already dated a bit, but still a splendid collection, if this is an area you have some familiarity with.


Friday, August 1, 2014

Friday Potpourri


In case you missed 'em:

1)  Who doesn't love the Mandelbrot Set. As if enough hasn't already been written/presented about it on the Web, Numberphile comes along with another GREAT instructive piece:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGMRB4O922I&feature=youtu.be

2)  An extensive guide (pdf) for teaching secondary-level mathematics from a Brit educator:
http://education.lms.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/DMG_6_no_1_2014.pdf

3)  It's reported that reclusive math genius Gregori Perelman and his mother have left their digs in Russia for a small town in Sweden (where he can continue to turn down awards for his math work):
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/eccentric-math-genius-ditches-russia-for-sweden/504076.html

4)  Tackling math, the James Tanton way:
http://headinside.blogspot.com/2014/07/tackle-that-math-problem.html

5)   Film based on the life of Ramanujan going into production first week of August in UK:
http://tinyurl.com/klzfnzn

6)
   Some student math favorites from Dan Anderson (h/t to Mike Lawler for calling attention to this):
http://blog.recursiveprocess.com/2014/07/29/my-favorite-for-the-students/

7)  Likely useful for teachers: a new "open curriculum" site for lessons supportive of Common Core (h/t to Fawn Nguyen):
http://opencurriculum.org/browse/common-core/mathematics/

8)  A brand new, and once again, great, great column this morning from Keith Devlin, concerning people's misconception of mathematics, while continuing his crusade for "mathematical thinking," and against some of the "off-the-wall" parental conclusions regarding Common Core (he gives a big hat tip to Jordan Ellenberg as well). This is required weekend reading ;-) :
http://devlinsangle.blogspot.com/2014/08/most-math-problems-do-not-have-unique.html

9) Lastly, if you want a mental workout, here is Richard Wiseman's puzzle for this Friday:
"Can you create a 10-digit number, where the first digit is how many zeros in the number, the second digit is how many 1s in the number etc. until the tenth digit which is how many 9s in the number?"