What do you want on your tombstone?

I’ve come across a few mathematicians or scientists who have been so proud of their scholarly achievements that they’ve asked for them to be put on their headstone when they die (or have had their achievements placed on their headstones by someone else). Please let me know if you know of others. [Update: thanks to…

Polya on Euler

One of my computer science colleagues sent me this quote from Polya about Euler. This is usually something I’d to post on Twitter, but it is too long. So I thought I’d reproduce it here. …among old mathematicians, I was most influenced by Euler and mostly because Euler did something that no other great mathematician of…

The sum of kth powers

Everyone loves the “baby Gauss story” in which Gauss amazes his teacher by quickly summing the first 100 positive integers in a flash of brilliance—he adds the first to the 100th, the second to the 99th, and so on to get the sum of fifty 101s to obtain 5050. (Brian Hayes has a great article…

Einstein’s math

In a previous post I mentioned that I was hoping to write an article called Mythematics. The idea is that I will investigate famous mathematical myths and either give evidence that they are true or debunk them. One that I had on my radar was the myth that Albert Einstein was bad at math. I…