Trigonometric functions and rational multiples of pi

Recall that a real number is algebraic if it is the root of a polynomial with integer coefficients and that it is transcendental otherwise. For example is algebraic because it is a root of the polynomial , but is transcendental because it is not the root of any such equation. (On a recent blog post…

Pumpkin pi

My kids and I painted and carved pumpkins last night. And, yes, we made a pumpkin pi.

Circle squaring limerick

I found this nice limerick on Charles Petzold’s blog: Said the man about town, ‘I have a flair For squaring the circle, I swear.’ But he found that the strain Was too great for his brain, So he’s gone back to circling the square. Petzold has a scan of the title page of E. H….

Exceptional MathReviews

If you have access to MathSciNet and are in the mood for some good laughs, head over to Kimball Martin’s collection of Exceptional MathReviews. He introduces his collection as follows: Were you ever looking up papers in MathSciNet and you found one that especially made you smile or laugh? And were you ever wishing that MathReviews…

The hitchhiker’s guide to infinity

I’ve had a few encounters with large numbers and the infinite lately. First, I came across this interesting blog post that asks how many times you would have to fold a piece of paper so that its thickness would be the same as the distance from the earth to the moon. It is a really…

Musicians with PhD’s

Yesterday I saw this tweet on appear in my Twitter stream: @mergerecords NPR’s Science Friday talks to Dan Snaith about @caribouband and mathematics! http://www.sciencefriday.com/arts/2010/10/math-x-music-caribou/ It turns out that Dan Snaith, who is essentially the electronic band Caribou, has a PhD in mathematics. (According the math genealogy project he received a PhD in number theory in 2005, Kevin…