A Short Animated History of Zero (0): How It Started in India, Then Made Its Journey to the West

≡ Category: Math |Leave a Comment

Zilch. Nada. Bupkis. Yes, I’m taking about Zero (0), a number that seems so essential to our system of numbers, and yet it hasn’t always enjoyed such a privileged place. Far from it.

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The Math Behind Beethoven’s Music

≡ Category: Math, Music |3 Comments

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Almost all the biggest math enthusiasts I’ve known have also loved classical music, especially the work of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. Of course, as San Francisco Symphony music director Michael Tilson Thomas once put it, you can’t have those three as your favorite composers, because “they simply define what music is.

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Scientists Discover That James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake Has an Amazingly Mathematical “Multifractal” Structure

≡ Category: Art, Literature, Math |9 Comments

It has long been thought that the so-called “Golden Ratio” described in Euclid’s Elements has “implications for numerous natural phenomena… from the leaf and seed arrangements of plants” and “from the arts to the stock market.

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Hear Tom Lehrer Sing the Names of 102 Chemical Elements to the Tune of Gilbert & Sullivan

≡ Category: Math, Music |Leave a Comment

Tom Lehrer earned a BA and MA in mathematics from Harvard during the late 1940s, then taught math courses at MIT, Harvard, Wellesley, and UC-Santa Cruz. Math was his vocation. But, all along, Lehrer nurtured an interest in music.

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Citizen Maths: A Free Online Course That Teaches Adults the Math They Missed in High School

≡ Category: Math, Online Courses |Leave a Comment

Many people still have a major fear of mathematics, having suffered through school and not really having been in the right frame of mind to grasp concepts that we’ve been told will come in handy in our future working lives.

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Adam Savage’s Animated Lesson on the Simple Ideas That Lead to Great Scientific Discoveries

≡ Category: Astronomy, Math, Physics, Science, TED Talks |Leave a Comment

Educator, industrial design fabricator and Myth Busters cohost Adam Savage is driven by curiosity.
Science gets his wheels turning faster than the notched disc Hippolyte Fizeau used to measure the speed of light in 1849.

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Why You Can Never Tune a Piano

≡ Category: Math, Music |11 Comments

Grab a cup of coffee, put on your thinking cap, and start working through this newly-released video from Minute Physics, which explains why guitars, violins and other instruments can be tuned to a tee. But when it comes to pianos, it’s an entirely differently story, a mathematical impossibility.

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Read John Nash’s Super Short PhD Thesis with 26 Pages & 2 Citations: The Beauty of Inventing a Field

≡ Category: Math |1 Comment

Last week John Nash, the Nobel Prize-winning mathematician, and subject of the blockbuster film A Beautiful Mind, passed away at the age of 86. He died in a taxi cab accident in New Jersey.
Days later, Cliff Pickover highlighted a curious factoid: When Nash wrote his Ph.D.

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The World Record for the Shortest Math Article: 2 Words

≡ Category: Math |5 Comments

On Monday, on a lark, we posted what we thought was The Shortest-Known Paper Published in a Serious Math Journal. Two succinct sentences.
But then today, an OC reader gave us a heads-up on a more extreme display of brevity.

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The Shortest-Known Paper Published in a Serious Math Journal: Two Succinct Sentences

≡ Category: Math |2 Comments

Euler’s conjecture, a theory proposed by Leonhard Euler in 1769, hung in there for 200 years. Then L.J. Lander and T.R. Parkin came along in 1966, and debunked the conjecture in two swift sentences. Their article — which is now open access and can be downloaded here — appeared in the Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society.

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