Music is math: ten songs about mathematics

Just for fun, here are ten songs about mathematics. Am I missing any good ones? Post them in the comments. 1. Finite Simple Group (of Order 2) by the Klein Four Group (lyrics). This excellent song was written and performed by graduate students at Northwestern University, where I did my graduate work. I think it…

Irving Kaplansky’s “A Song about Pi”

Perhaps I should wait until mid-March to post this, but oh, well. Irving “Kap” Kaplansky (1917–2006), the mathematician and former head of MSRI, was also a pianist and songwriter. In 1973 he brought all of these interests together to pen a song called “A Song about Pi.” The tune is was inspired by the digits of…

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…

A tale of why you (U, that is) needs a tail

What is this collection of symbols? No, it is not a wallpaper border pattern, a brain teaser, or ancient hieroglyphics. It is a set identity, of course! When I was in college I had a math major friend who said that all he learned in our topology class was to put tails on his U’s…

Bolzano-Weierstrass rap

In my next real analysis lecture we’ll be discussing the Bolzano-Weierstrass theorem. (It says that any bounded sequence of real numbers contains a convergent subsequence.) I’ll be showing my class this video in which Steve Sawin (AKA Slim Dorky) raps the complete proof of the theorem. You can read the lyrics here. He has some other…

Tom Lehrer’s math songs

After writing about some well known people with degrees in mathematics, I was moved to re-listen to some old Tom Lehrer songs on YouTube. I decided I’d post some links to his more mathematical songs here. Enjoy. First, “Lobachevsky,” a song about the Russian mathematician Nikolai Lobachevsky and his discovery of non-Euclidean geometry, which some…

Delicious pie chart

An accurate pie chart: [Image by Laszlo Thoth under a Creative Commons license]

Units are important

This made me laugh. My favorite line is “Well, I mean, it’s obviously a difference of opinion.” [via failblog]

Happy New Year!

This is one day late,  but worth posting despite that, I think. Happy New Year! From Abstruse Goose: Happy Zeno Year

Phone number fail

Our college has an (expensive) automated alert system. If there is an emergency on campus, then this system will broadcast news and warnings to all members of the campus community via telephone, cell phone, text messaging, email, etc. (I don’t think they’re set up for Twitter yet.) They sent one of these alerts today because…

Graph theory is funny

I read and laugh at Jessica Hagy’s Indexed every day. Today Jessica created the following index card titled 7 wonders of the modern world which is based on , the complete graph on 7 vertices. She has created similar index cards before, such as… : For my MBA friends (apologies to Mr. Porter) : Yes,…