Millay’s Euclid looks on Beauty bare

I had forgotten about this poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay until I stumbled upon it again today. I thought you all would like it. Euclid alone has looked on Beauty bare. Let all who prate of Beauty hold their peace, And lay them prone upon the earth and cease To ponder on themselves, the…

Lincoln and squaring the circle

I’d heard a long time ago that Abraham Lincoln was a largely self-taught man and that he read Euclid’s Elements on his own. Right now I’m reading Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, and from it I learned that not only did he read Euclid, he spent some time…

Counting triangles on a tin ceiling (solution, take 2)

This is the solution to a problem I posed in my previous blog post. Please read that post first. [Update: I posted a solution to this problem two days ago. Yesterday Brent Yorgey pointed out that my analysis of “type 2” triangles was not quite correct. (See his comment below.) So I went back to…

Counting triangles on a tin ceiling

This morning a student popped in to my office and said he had a math question for me, and that it wasn’t related to a class he was taking. He said that his apartment has a tin ceiling with square tiles. The tiles have X’s through them, as illustrated below: He asked: “Is there a…