Recommended readings (4/27/09)

Barack Obama speaks to the 146th Annual Meeting of the National Academy of Sciences Calculus Made Easy: Being A Very Simplest Introduction To Those Beautiful Methods Of Reckoning Which Are Generally Called By The Terrifying Names Of The Differential Calculus And The Integral Calculus (2nd Ed., 1914), by Silvanus P. Thompson ~ What one fool…

Happy birthday Michael Atiyah

There is a article about Sir Michael Atiyah in the Times Online in honor of his 80th birthday, “Maths and the bomb: Sir Michael Atiyah at 80.”

How the arch got its shape

The most recent video podcast episode of Science Friday is a short but nice discussion of the mathematics behind the St. Louis Arch: How the arch got its shape.

PAR scoring in squash

The purpose of this post is to present a possible research topic for a mathematics or computer science student. For the last several years I’ve been an avid squash player. For those of you who don’t know, squash is played in a court like a racquetball court (although smaller). The racket is long and thin….

xkcd in the New York Times

The popular web comic xkcd is coming out in book form. The book will contain 150-200 of the 500 comics and will be sold on the xkcd website (initially, at least). There is an article about the book in the New York Times. Regular readers love the extra joke that appears on a mouse-over. The…

Musings about traffic on the highway

Here’s a neat looking infographic by Stephen J. Beard and Rich Exner from The Plain Dealer that I bookmarked a few months ago. It addresses the question, why do freeways come to a stop? Seeing this graphic reminded me of how much I used to be fascinated by traffic when I was a child (even though I…

Arthur Benjamin: Lightning Calculation and Other “Mathemagic”

I’m continuing to enjoy watching mathematics videos online. This week I saw a few math-related TED talks pop up in my news reader and enjoyed watching them: Math = Letting Dead People Do the Work at Let’s Play Math How calculus is changing architecture at Casting Out Nines In case you do not know what…

Featured MAA review

I just noticed that one of my book reviews (a review of The Survival of a Mathematician: From Tenure Track to Emeritus, by Steven G. Krantz) is a featured review right now at MAA reviews. This was a very difficult review for me to write. There was a lot to like about the book, but…

Happy birthday!

Happy 302nd birthday Leonhard Euler! In celebration of your birthday I’ll be giving a talk (a day late) about one of your theorems. During the time it took me to write this blog post, you would have written a groundbreaking research paper. [photo from PinkCakeBox]

Freeman Dyson and a mathematical puzzle in the NY Times

On March 25 the New York Times Magazine had an article about Freeman Dyson, “The Civil Heretic.” It contains an interesting mathematical problem. At Jason, taking problems to Dyson is something of a parlor trick. A group of scientists will be sitting around the cafeteria, and one will idly wonder if there is an integer…

My virtual seminar goes live

I love my job—I teach at a small, highly selective liberal arts college. It is a great place to work. But one thing I miss from my days at big research universities is the constant stream of research mathematicians who give seminars and colloquia.  I am within two hours of Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC, and…