...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, June 5, 2015

First Potpourri of June


This week's mix of math miscellany:

1)  Friedman equations, prime numbers, cyclic universes, etc....
http://www.space.com/29517-is-the-big-bang-cycling-through-time.html

2)  Last week, a wonderful "Doing The Math" episode of PRI's "To the Best of Our Knowledge":
http://www.ttbook.org/book/doing-math-updated

3)  Numberphile/James Grime put up a video in tribute to John Nash last weekend:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qu3WETuf6c

4)  2015 Shaw Laureates in mathematics named:
http://www.shawprize.org/en/shaw.php?tmp=3&twoid=98&threeid=245&fourid=446

5)  Steven Strogatz and student Danielle Toupo use 'rock-paper-scissors' to explain evolutionary games:
http://news.sciencemag.org/biology/2015/05/rock-paper-scissors-may-explain-evolutionary-games-nature

6)  David Bressoud on "the rush to calculus" (in high school):
http://launchings.blogspot.com/2015/06/calculus-at-crisis-ii-rush-to-calculus.html

7)  Nautilus covers some backstory of Andrew Wiles' proof of Fermat's Last Theorem:
http://nautil.us/issue/24/error/how-maths-most-famous-proof-nearly-broke

8)  Keith Devlin's latest on the results of educational competency/skills assessment across the globe:
http://devlinsangle.blogspot.com/2015/06/piacc-pisa-for-grown-ups.html

9)  For those who feel that teachers are forever under-appreciated read this post to warm your heart's cockles (whatever those are):
http://mathequalslove.blogspot.com/2015/06/a-key-to-city.html

10) Some bookish notes:

a)  Review of David Spiegelhalter's "Sex By Numbers: What Statistics Can Tell Us About Sexual Behaviour" here:
 http://tinyurl.com/qz63zf8

b)  A (Scientific American) podcast interview with Eugenia Cheng, author of "How To Bake Pi":
http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/take-a-bite-out-of-the-math-of-math/

...and another review of Cheng's book here:
http://tinyurl.com/naawmp4

c)  I received a review copy of "Creating Symmetry" by Frank Farris, a beautifully-presented volume for anyone trained in math with a special interest in symmetry (especially as it relates to art). At first glance it looks like a coffee-table book (a category I'm not fond of) -- large, square-ish, glossy, but upon opening, it includes more detailed, creative text than pictures and is packed with significant mathematics (of 17 possible wallpaper types and beyond). This is NOT a volume for a general audience, but for those well-trained in math with a special interest in symmetry (a topic that interests a LOT of math fans).
The book has all the usual Princeton University Press polish, and for selected individuals will be a nice addition to their shelf.

11)  Probability does not exist... it will go the way of phlogiston, witches, elves and fairies"... That's just one of the fascinating lines from Quanta Magazine and Amanda Gefter in another excellent article on quantum theory, this time focusing on QBism (or "quantum Bayesianism") from Christopher Fuchs. Great piece!:
https://www.quantamagazine.org/20150604-quantum-bayesianism-qbism/

Talking about the new ideas Fuchs ends with, "It might take us 25 years to get the mathematics right, but in 25 years let’s have this conversation again!"

12)  Speaking of probability, Deborah Mayo once again on the replication crisis in psychology:
http://errorstatistics.com/2015/06/04/what-would-replication-research-under-an-error-statistical-philosophy-be/ 

13)  Another excellent podcast (47-min.), from The Guardian, with Jordan Ellenberg (includes Alex Bellos):
http://www.theguardian.com/science/audio/2015/jun/05/mathematics

14)  Mike Lawlers' place on the Web, busy-as-always:  https://mikesmathpage.wordpress.com/

15)  Finally, if you need a good laugh (actually several of them) be sure to read Fawn Nguyen's account of what her summer will be like (if nothing else you'll learn that there are 56 breweries in Portland, Oregon):
http://fawnnguyen.com/not-that-you-care-about-my-schedule/


Potpourri BONUS! (extra NON-mathematical links of interest):

1)  Scott Aaronson on the Singularity, suffering, and the future:
http://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=2307

2)  Capitalism gone awry (again)... the "dark side of for-profit colleges":
http://ww2.kqed.org/lowdown/2015/06/02/class-dismissed-the-dark-side-of-for-profit-colleges/


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