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 ›

# Math

## 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 ›

## Sorry, but we’re just not going to be able to get rid of the Electoral College.

Finally the American people have woken up and understand the Electoral College (EC), or at least its importance. Well, at least somewhat. My Quantitative Reasoning (QR) students at the Crimson Summer Academy (CSA) certainly understand it: how many electors each… Read More ›

## Grey elections

Who cares about the mathematics of elections? We all should, of course — especially now. An informative, even entertaining way to learn about this topic is to watch the videos of CGP Grey. For a scary example, take a look… Read More ›

## How have I forgotten this number system?

That’s easy. I couldn’t have forgotten it, as I had never known about it in the first place! We’re talking about the Cistercian number system. Sounds monkish, doesn’t it? Yes, that’s what it is; it was developed by Cistercian monks… Read More ›

## Really? You’re saying Ranked Choice Voting is too hard for adults in Massachusetts?

My former Quantitative Reasoning (QR) students know that Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) is superior to First Past the Post (FPTP), the system we use in Massachusetts for most elections. So why did Massachusetts adults vote it down by a convincing… Read More ›

## Hexagonal squares???

Taking a much-needed break from watching the nail-biting election returns, we will consider hexagonal squares. “No such thing,” you say, since you are a knowledgeable geometer. I first saw the phrase “hexagonal squares” when I was 13 or 14, reading… Read More ›

## What’s so special about the Mandelbrot Set?

Nobody tires of Mandelbrot Set images, especially the zoomed-in ones. But there aren’t very many non-mathematicians who can explain them — though I hope my former Precalculus students can do so. For everyone else, you really need to watch a… Read More ›

## Is this really what (male) math professors are like?

The philosophers in the program were kind and excellent teachers, but the math professors I met in those days were somewhat less skilled at teaching or relating to people. One told us that we should think of him as a… Read More ›

## How do I know that they know?

What do we lose by teaching remotely? Here is another follow-up inspired by Patrick Honner in this age of COVID. Honner makes the following important observation: When I taught the IVT last week, I couldn’t walk around class and look… Read More ›