New research about how paper crumples was done in the same chunk of Harvard that produced an Ig Nobel Prize-winning study about how sheets get wrinkled. It builds on—and adds new wrinkles to—that earlier research. Siobhan Roberts reports, in the New York Times, about the paper-crumpling study: This Is the Way the Paper Crumples In a […]

# Tag: math

## A Drunkard’s Walk Around Nice (with a mathematical solution)

“An inebriated person in Nice (see Figure 1) takes a walk, each step in one of the four cardinal directions, north (N), south (S), east (E), and west (W). We are interested in those walks beginning at the center of the Promenade des Anglais (at the southern end of town) and ending anywhere on the […]

## Renewed Interest in Octonions

“There are exactly four normed division algebras: the real numbers (R), complex numbers (C), quaternions (H), and octonions (O). The real numbers are the dependable breadwinner of the family, the complete ordered field we all rely on. The complex numbers are a slightly ﬂashier but still respectable younger brother: not ordered, but algebraically complete. The […]

## Hydroplaning Eider Ducks – the math(s)

Ducks can fly. Ducks can swim. And, unusually, they’re pretty good at something in between – viz. hydroplaning (a.k.a. ‘Skeetering’). If you’ve seen them doing it, you might have wondered about the physics (and math(s)) behind it. In which case, you are not alone … “Common eiders (Somateria mollissima) are heavy sea-ducks that spend a […]

## The Hairy Ball Theorem revisited – a newer, shorter, proof

Once proved, mathematical theorems* tend to stay proved. Nevertheless, they can sometimes still be improved – say, by making them shorter. Take, for example proofs for The Hairy Ball Theorem. Mathematician Henri Poincaré first drew attention to the Hairy Ball Theorem in 1885 with his treatise ‘Sur les courbes déﬁnies par les équations différentielles (III)’ Journal de […]

## Improving our understanding of Bamboozle Structures

It’s not everyday that a newly discovered 3-D mathematical concept appears on the topological horizon. But one did in 2012. It’s called the Bamboozle Structure. “Bamboozle consists of 51 equilateral triangles, meeting pairwise at an angle of about 70.5 degrees (arccos 1/3).” It seems that topologists haven’t given a great deal of consideration to Bamboozle […]

## The trick of making Sudoku games

The MathWithBadDrawings blog looks at how complicated — or, rather simple — it is to create lots and lots of sudoku games: “Now, I’m not much of a Sudoku player. (Crossword guy, to be honest.) But glancing at the puzzle, my dad and I got to wondering: How do they generate these puzzles? We weren’t sure. […]

## Generalizing Keeler’s theorem (a.k.a. The Futurama Theorem)

Theorem 1. Let n ∈ N, n ≥ 2. The inverse of any permutation in Sn can be written as a product of distinct transpositions in Sn+2 \ Sn. Mathematically inclined aficionados of the cult animation series Futurama will no doubt recognise the theorem above – it was first posited by Ken Keeler in the […]

## Lives of the great scientists: Professor Carrier meets the semicolon

From the SIAM obituary of applied mathematician George Carrier: Not one to polish text, or to pursue a subject beyond the essence of what he wanted to know, he was nevertheless pleased when the late Sydney Goldstein (who, he said, introduced him to the use of the semicolon) praised his writing as concise and precise.

## Dead Reckoning: Death by Selfies

As more people ascend to heaven, or whatever, while photographing themselves, more researchers try to measure the what, where, and how of it. Picture, if you will, this new study done by scientists in India and the USA: “Me, Myself and My Killfie: Characterizing and Preventing Selfie Deaths,” Hemank Lamba, Varun Bharadhwaj, Mayank Vachher, Divyansh Agarwal, Megha […]