Math

On the Uselessness of Mathematics and Resultant Magical Oracular Godness of Computers

On the Uselessness of Mathematics and Resultant Magical Oracular Godness of Computers

I’ve been thinking about mathematical education a lot recently.  Mostly because my sister is professing math at a college at which many students believe and state that they do not need math because all they are going to do in life is work at the mines.  I find this sad for many reasons.  In addition, one of the gentlemen who walks about the gym while we work out has recently taken to coming ... »

Science Sunday: Does the Sum of All Natural Numbers Equal -1/12?

Science Sunday: Does the Sum of All Natural Numbers Equal -1/12?

They say not to write a post with a question if the answer is “no” but I’m going to do it anyway. You may have seen this video floating around the intertubes that claims to show that summing all the natural numbers (1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + … all the way to infinity) is equal to -1/12: As you may have guessed by the first sentence of my post, the sum of all the natural numbers d... »

Danica McKellar’s Fun Little Bites of Mathy Goodness

Danica McKellar’s Fun Little Bites of Mathy Goodness

Danica McKellar, who has actual math degrees in addition to being an actress, is trying to get girls interested in math.  She’s starting a webseries! Math Bites!  I’m suspicious of this.  Increasing the participation of girls in science and math in the face of stereotype harm and the president of Harvard is an excellent goal, but in my experience, strategies for this tend to degrade in... »

There’s a Pi Day?

There’s a Pi Day?

Yes, title, indeed there is a Pi day, and unless I’m mistaken it’s also today. Pi is a pretty interesting number that’s worth going over in a post so I thought I’d flesh the idea out a little here. So go grab 3.1415926… slices of pie and I’ll get you up to speed on a number that’s both irrational and ubiquitous (it’s a bit like UFO and ghost sighting... »

The Physics Philes, lesson 33: I’ve Got the Momentum!

The Physics Philes, lesson 33: I’ve Got the Momentum!

In which a gun recoils, a crappy diagram is drawn, and kinetic energy is differentiated. Last week I explained the basics of conservation of momentum. Today we’ll do a  problem to demonstrate this basic principle. I know you’re excited, so let’s get to it. We know that if a system has no external forces, momentum in the system is conserved (OK, it’s more nuanced than that, ... »

Mathematicians to save the Rhino?

Mathematicians to save the Rhino?

A most interesting study group is taking place at WITS University this week. Mathematicians will attempt to find a solution to the problem of Rhino poaching. International mathematicians and graduate students will converge at Wits University next week to help solve various industry problems during the 2013 Mathematics in Industry Study Group (MISGSA) Workshop. With more than 600 rhinos poached in ... »

The Physics Philes, lesson 31: Please, Control Your Impulses

The Physics Philes, lesson 31: Please, Control Your Impulses

In which balls are thrown, calculations are made, and further explanation is required. Last time on The Physics Philes, we started discussing momentum and impulse. This week we’ll do an example problem, but before we begin I need to add a bit of information. As I was preparing for this week’s post, I realized that I didn’t provide the definition of impulse, which is kinda necessa... »

The Physics Philes, lesson 29: Math, Discontinuously

The Physics Philes, lesson 29: Math, Discontinuously

In which discontinuity is removed, x-intercepts are determined, and physics is promised. Happy New Year’s Eve, and I hope you all had a wonderful Newton-mas! Thanks for tolerating my half-assed post from last week. But I’m back and better than (actually, probably the same as) ever! Today I’m going to finish the discussion of continuity, as well as the Intermediate Value Theorem.  »

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