The hidden meaning of crypto

What does the word “crypto” mean to you? For many decades it has been a term of art in applied mathematics—shorthand for both “cryptography” and “cryptology,” being thereby particularly useful for those of us who don’t want to argue about… Read More ›

Music to our ears

All math teachers and mathematicians love music, but not all musicians love math. That has been my experience, at any rate, based on a fairly large sample. Recently I listened to a Freakonomics episode featuring British mathematician Sarah Hart, in… Read More ›

Should you switch?

No, I don’t mean switch from Coke to Pepsi, nor from math to linguistics. I am not even referring to the Monty Hall problem, though that seems more likely under the circumstances. I am talking about the fascinating two-envelope paradox…. Read More ›

A Prime Mistake

To be sure, nine, along with three and seven, are great favorites of European folklore. No one knows for sure why just those numerals achieved such prominence. The reference to the fact that all of them are primes does not go far.  So says… Read More ›