The pseudonymous Rudbeckia Hirta writes about “the most amusing book ever written about calculus”: The Historical Development of the Calculus, by C.H. Edwards. I know, you don’t think the competition for most amusing calculus book is very stiff, but I’m… Read More ›

# Math

## Numb3rs

Please read Graham Cormode’s review of the TV show, “Numb3rs” (which he claims is pronounced “Numbthreers” rather than “Numbers”). Brief excerpt: Given low initial expectations, it was probably one of the better attempts to show mathematical topics within the context… Read More ›

## Literature & math: imaginary gardens with real toads

This week’s New York Times Book Review contains a fascinating Literary Map of Manhattan, preceded by an explanatory article written by Ethicist Randy Cohen. Quoting Meg Wolitzer, Cohen defines his (their?) “cartographic motto”: a strong sense of specificity, even though… Read More ›

## What math has taught him

Sam Hughes is the author of the Venn Diagram cited in my previous post. I also recommend his list of “Things mathematics has taught me”: That there are such things as unanswerable questions — indeed, provably unanswerable questions That Occam’s… Read More ›

## Don’t confuse England with Britain

Perhaps a Venn Diagram would help.

## Statistics for kids

Do check out the NCES Students’ Classroom site. Good stuff — even though a lot of it is in Comic Sans (see yesterday’s post).

## An argument from continuity

Two sophomores approached my colleague Josh with a question: “How can we construct a fair 5-sided die?” Josh posed a prior question: Is it even possible to construct such a die? He fashioned an interesting argument from continuity: Consider two… Read More ›

## The view from college math

Rudbeckia Hirta (a clever pseudonym for a math professor who carefully keeps her true identity hidden) observes: Due to reasons beyond my understanding, high school math and college math are completely unaligned. The K-12 system sends us students whose knowledge… Read More ›

## Where visuals fail

Some of us couldn’t possibly forget the 1969 draft lottery, the new and supposedly “fair” system to pick who was going to be sent to Vietnam. My Algebra 2 class is studying probability and was remarkably interested in learning about… Read More ›

## High-school math in the 21st century?

What math applications are taught in high school? Principally parabolic arches and widget-manufacturing, of course. This is a bit of an exaggeration, but the principle holds. We teach applications like those rather than cryptography and models of voting. At the… Read More ›