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Posts

March 26, 2015

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9:00 PM | The problem of time
Californian Brenda Hillman is a poet whose work I like and admire.  In "Time Problem" she weaves prime numbers into a deft description of the dilemma of not enough time.       Time Problem     by Brenda Hillman       The problem        of time.      Of there not being         enough of it. […]

March 24, 2015

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11:28 PM | The Game of POP
No one knows how to live a funky life more than Prince: Life, it ain’t real funky Unless it’s got that pop Need a little extra pop in your life? Here’s a game you can play. Create a game board consisting of n adjacent squares. Here’s a board for n = 10: Still with me? Good. The […]
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5:20 AM | 7η ΔΙΕΘΝΗΣ ΜΑΘΗΜΑΤΙΚΗ ΕΒΔΟΜΑΔΑ
Η παρουσίασή μου στην 7η Διεθνή Μαθηματική Εβδομάδα, 18-22 Μαρτίου, στη Θεσσαλονίκη, με θέμα "Μαθηματικά για το Περιβάλλον. Μπορούν να αποτελέσουν εργαλείο καλλιέργειας και ευαισθητοποίησης του σύγχρονου πολίτη;" Ευχαριστώ πολύ όσους παραβρέθηκαν στην παρουσίαση, την […]

March 23, 2015

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12:08 PM | March 23 -- Emmy Noether's birthday
Today, March 23, 2015, Google celebrates the 133rd birthday of mathematician Emmy Noether.  In support of the celebration here is a link to "My Dance is Mathematics," a poem I wrote to honor this pioneering mathematician.  I hope that celebrations of Noether and other math-women will help to create a world in which these lines are no longer true:          If a woman's dance is […]
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12:59 AM | March 21 -- World Poetry Day
Yesterday poetry was celebrated around the world -- the Guardian reported the event with mention of Cafés around the world that offered a cup of coffee in exchange for a poem.  The occasion caused me to turn to one of my favorite international collections, The Horse Has Six Legs (Graywolf, 2010) -- an anthology of Serbian poetry translated and edited by poet Charles Simic.  On 29 April 2011 I posted "Forgetful Number" by Yugoslav poet Vasko Popa (1922-1991) -- and here is another of […]

March 22, 2015

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10:25 AM | P (NFL ∪ Math) > 0
John Urschel is an offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens and admits, “I love hitting people.” As it turns out, he loves hitting the books, too. He earned a masters degree in mathematics from Penn State, and he recently published a paper with the impressive title A Cascadic Multigrid Algorithm for Computing the Fiedler Vector […]
Editor's Pick

March 20, 2015

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12:12 AM | Multiplied by Rain
     There are many mathematical terms that are used in daily life -- not only multiplied and divided and negative but also closure and identity and field and commute -- and it is fun for me, a math person, to see poets use such terms in new and thoughtful ways.      Poet Jane Hirschfield weaves words into fine tapestries that give us new dimensions of meaning.  The Table of Contents of her new book, The Beauty (Knopf, 2015), is scattered with […]

March 17, 2015

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12:02 PM | A Russian toast (with mathematics)
Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting the Washington Museum of Poetry and Music -- a collection in Rockville, MD gathered and maintained in the home of Uli Zislin who has lived in the US since 1996. (Among other treasures, the musuem has recordings of poets Anna Akhmatova, Boris Pasternak, Osip Mandelstam, and Anastasia Tsvetaeva.)    At the time of my visit, Ziskin presented me with one of his own poems that includes a bit of mathematics.  The original Russian […]
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12:00 AM | Flagpole
Flagpole So, you're falling from a height above the tallest building in your town, and you don't have a parachute. But wait! Partway down the side of that skyscraper there's a flagpole sticking out, sans flag! You angle your descent and grab the pole just long enough to swing around so that when you let go you're now heading back up toward the sky. As gravity slows you and brings you to a halt, you reach the top of the skyscraper, where you reach out and pull yourself to […]

March 16, 2015

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6:39 PM | "Call Apple" pop-up is SCAM -- please ignore
      Three different blog readers have told me that they encountered an unwanted "Call Apple" pop-up as they browsed my blog using Safari.  My investigations identify this as a problem with Safari -- and not with this blog or with the computer used for browsing.  More information is available here.

March 14, 2015

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2:15 AM | Three Greguerías
From Portugal, from Francisco -- who emailed me the gift of these lines:Three Greguerías   by Rámon Gómez de la Serna (1888-1963)                                              translated by Francisco J Craveiro de Carvalho and JoAnneHolding her hoop the little girl goes to school and to the playground,to […]

March 13, 2015

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3:30 PM | Pi skyline, desde π al cielo
  Arte, arquitectura, imaginación y matemáticas llevan al número π al cielo en el día de pi, que este año lleva el 15 como tercer y cuarto decimal 3/14/15. Felicidades a todos los π-rados que aman las matemáticas. Lo celebramos con … Sigue leyendo →

March 12, 2015

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12:30 PM | Will the Real Steve Reinhart Please Stand Up?
I met Steve Reinhart when he was a presenter at a 2001 NCTM Academy in Branson, MO. I only met him that one time, yet he had a profound effect on my teaching philosophy. Read his article “Never Say Anything a Kid Can Say!” and you’ll see why. Last week, I met a second Steve Reinhart […]

March 11, 2015

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4:27 PM | ΜΑΘΗΜΑΤΙΚΑ ΓΙΑ ΤΟ ΠΕΡΙΒΑΛΛΟΝ
Αγαπητές φίλες και φίλοι, πιθανόν θα έχετε ήδη δει το πρόγραμμα της 7ης Διεθνούς Μαθηματικής Εβδομάδας, που διοργανώνει το Παράρτημα ΕΜΕ Κεντρικής Μακεδονίας. Αν όχι, δείτε το εδώ. Οι συμμετέχοντες είναι πολλοί και ιδιαίτερα ενδιαφέροντες, τα δε θέματα καλύπτουν όλα τα […]
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3:01 AM | Similar, self-similar -- fractals, a poem
      In geometry two objects are said to be similar if they have the same shape --- which happens if their angles are the same size and occur in the same sequence. For example, any pair of triangles with angles 30, 60, and 90 degrees are similar; also, the lengths of pairs of corresponding sides of these triangles have the same ratio       A term used in the terminology of fractals is self-similarity: a self-similar object has exactly (or […]

March 08, 2015

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12:51 AM | The mathematician, she . . . .
     Tomorrow, March 8, is the International Day of the Woman -- and I celebrate the day with mixed feelings.  YES, there are many women I want to celebrate. BUT WHY are they not celebrated daily, equally with men? And a more specific concern, WHY, when the word "mathematician" is used, is the person assumed to be a man. (There is, on the other hand, a nice non-gendered neutrality in numbers -- as in this first stanza of "Numbers," by Mary Cornish, found […]

March 07, 2015

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3:30 PM | Shoestring Probability
March 15 is Shoe the World Day. And April 5 is One Day Without Shoes Day. Shoes and math have a lot in common. A shoe salesman consults a mathematician on what size shoes to keep in stock. The mathematician tells him, “There is a simple equation for that,” and shows him the Gaussian normal […]
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12:00 AM | Hotter than Average
Hotter than Average I saw a sign at a hot springs tub saying "Caution: Water is hotter than average" with water at about 39°C. Although they were presumably trying to say "hotter than the average swimming pool," this got me wondering: What is the average temperature of all water on the Earth’s surface, and how does that temperature compare to 39°C? —Graham Ward You might be selling the sign-maker short. Whether they explicitly intended it or not, the wording on […]

March 06, 2015

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7:33 PM | Celebrate Pi -- write in Pilish
On 3/14/15 many of us will celebrate  π - day; for those who like to gaze on the digits of  π,  one hundred thousand of them are available here.  In honor of this upcoming special day I have composed a small stanza in Pilish (the language whose word-lengths follow the digits of  π ).  3.  1  4   Get a list, 1  5   I shout,    9  2  6  5  3  5Compilate pi, digits round the words --8  […]

March 03, 2015

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3:03 PM | Women in Maths -- on Facebook
     Recently I prepared an item for Rachel Levy's Grandma Got STEM blog that told a bit about my granddaughters who like math.  My preparation for that posting led me to focus on my wish to have math be a fun place for girls to hang out -- a place for lots of girls:  feminine girls, sporty girls, popular girls, silly girls (as well as geek girls).  Mathematics has mostly been a lonely place for females -- my first  girl-friend who was also a math person […]
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3:00 PM | February 2015 (and prior) -- titles, links for posts
Scroll down to find titles and dates of posts so far in 2015.  You may follow these links offered for each year to to go to lists of posts through 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011 -- and all the way back to March 2010 when this blog was begun. This link leads to a SEARCH BOX for the blog and this link leads to a PDF file that lists searchable topics and names of poets and mathematicians presented herein.Feb 28  Reflections on LogicFeb 24  Found poetry - words of DiracFeb 21  How […]

March 02, 2015

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12:46 PM | Passwords, Age Restrictions, and Computer Silliness
My computer has been a bad boy recently. First, it told me that my password is going to expire approximately 11 months before I was born… Interestingly, the folks at www.timeanddate.com disagree with the number of days between March 31, 1970, and the date that screen capture was snapped (March 1, 2015). So much for the truism that, […]

February 28, 2015

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4:44 PM | ΤΑ ΑΙΤΙΑ ΤΟΥ επαναλαμβανόμενου ΛΑΘΟΥΣ...
Τα λάθη των μαθητών στα Μαθηματικά έχουν μελετηθεί πολύ και από πολλούς. Έχουν αναλυθεί, έχουν κατηγοριοποιηθεί, έχει προταθεί η αξιοποίησή τους στη διδασκαλία, κι όλα αυτά σε τόσο μεγάλη έκταση και σε τόσο βάθος, που θα πίστευε κανείς ότι αν ένας εκπαιδευτικός  ασχοληθεί […]
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11:45 AM | Reflections on Logic
Miroslav Holub (1923-1998), Czech poet and immunologist who excelled in both endeavors, is one of my favorite poets.  He combines scientific exactitude with empathy and absurdity.  Here is a sample:       Brief Reflections on Logic     by Miroslav […]
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6:40 AM | Deliver Us Not Into Bad Math
What better way to celebrate National Pizza Day than sharing this sign, which hangs in our local Pizza Hut: Admittedly, I’ve never been very good with proportions, but even I know that . Yet, that’s what’s implied by the statements for $3 and $5 in the sign. Further, For $1, you can feed 4 children for 1 day. That’s a […]

February 25, 2015

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3:21 AM | Found poetry - words of Dirac
The epigraph for Richard Bready's "Times of Sand" (a stanza of which I posted a few days ago on 21 February) is a quote from British physicist Paul Dirac (1902-1984, founder of quantum theory).  This quote reminded me how often we find poetry within well-written prose -- and I have gone to WikiQuotes and found more poetic words from Dirac:       If you are        receptive        and […]

February 24, 2015

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3:33 AM | Can I Get Your Digits?
Saw this on a t-shirt recently: It made me think about this problem involving digits. Consider the number 1234567891011121314151617181920 obtained by writing the numbers from 1 to 20 in order side-by-side. What’s the greatest number that can be obtained by crossing out 20 digits? If a fetching lady or handsome gent catches your fancy by solving that problem, […]

February 21, 2015

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1:46 PM | How many grains of sand?
     Sand beaches are places I love to walk.  Adjoining oceans, soft underfoot. Below I post a stanza from Richard Bready's "Times of Sand"  -- a long poem that explores many of the numbers related to sand.      Contemplating grains of sand turns my thoughts to the pair of terms "finite" and "infinite."  One of my friends, university-educated, versed in literature and philosophy, offered "all of the grains of sand" as an […]

February 19, 2015

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6:05 PM | "Γιατί μας βρίζετε, κυρία;"
Συχνά συμβαίνει ένας μαθητής  γεμάτος απορία, κοιτάζοντάς με με μάτια ορθάνοιχτα, να με ρωτάει:  "Κυρία, δεν βαριέστε  κάθε χρόνο να λέτε τα ίδια και τα ίδια;". Τέτοιες ερωτήσεις μου τις κάνουν συνήθως οι μαθητές που ολοφάνερα ταλαιπωρούνται από τη μαθητική τους […]
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4:13 PM | And the Oscar Goes To… a Mathematician?
When you sit down to watch The Oscars on Sunday, February 22, you’ll be witnessing history when a mathematician takes home one of those 13.5″ tall gold statuettes. Math professor Robert Bridson from the University of British Columbia will receive an Academy Award for Technical Achievement, in particular, for his “pioneering work on voxel data structures and its […]
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