I’m sure you’ve been wondering: what’s a mathologer? Or perhaps you should ask “Who’s The Mathologer?” In that case, the answer is easy: The Mathologer is Burkard Polster. I’m kidding about part of this, of course—not about his name, which… Read More ›

# Math

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*The Princess Bride *revisited

“Never get involved in a land war in Asia.” That’s the line I’ve remembered for more than three decades. Yes, it has been that long since The Princess Bride was first released! How well has this movie held up? Amazingly well, I… Read More ›

## Suppose you lived on a dodecahedron. How would you avoid your neighbors?

“Suppose you lived on a dodecahedron,” I say. “How would you avoid your neighbors?” “But I don’t live on a dodecahedron,” you claim. “Anyway, what if I don’t want to avoid my neighbors?” Stop! This is mathematics. We make abstractions away from the real… Read More ›

## A number theory discovery by a 12-year-old Nigerian boy! And one by an 11-year-old Massachusetts girl!

Everyone knows the stereotype: mathematical discoveries are made by white and Asian males in their 20s and 30s. Right? Well, like all stereotypes, there’s a certain amount of statistical reality that supports this impression and obscures all examples to the… Read More ›

## That’s Life. “Uncertainty is the only certainty.”

This is life: In a world where truth seems to be at a premium and the future unsure, it’s comforting to know precisely when the sun is going to come up and that when it does, it will do so… Read More ›

## When will I ever use this in real life? (No one ever “solves for x”! (Or do they?))

As I wrote eight years ago, it seems that I discuss this topic every couple of years. But there’s always a new reason to do so. Here is the 2020 reason, expressed in this cartoon: What we have here is a… Read More ›

## Surreal numbers

Surrealism. That’s Dali and Magritte, right? Well, yes… but surrealism is not just in art. It also pops up in mathematics — mathematics of all things, much to the surprise of those who are not in the world of Donald… Read More ›

## Can turtle graphics really help you solve cubic equations? Sounds unlikely…

Wow! In less than half an hour, you’ll learn lots of exciting new math from Burkard the Mathologer! So watch his Turtle Math, in which you’ll learn how to use turtle graphics to solve cubic equations. Along the way you’ll… Read More ›

## I know it’s hard to believe, but you too can use a simple formula to generate all the prime numbers!

You probably thought that there is no such formula — one that will generate all and only the prime numbers (formula, not sieve). Right? Well, it turns out that there is! (More or less.) Keep reading… Just start with the… Read More ›

## A number of galactic proportions

Take, say, 73 little cubes (blocks or ordinary D6 dice). Could you arrange them into three perfect cubes? I’ll wait while you try to solve this problem… OK, you probably started by taking 64 of them to make a 4×4×4… Read More ›