## The final recalibration of Ig Nobel Prize winner Pat Robertson

Ig Nobel Prize winner Pat Robertson — who predicted that the world would end in 1982 — died today (June 8, 2023), according to numerous news reports. The 2011 Ig Nobel Mathematics Prize was awarded to: Dorothy Martin of the USA (who predicted the world would end in 1954), Pat Robertson of the USA (who […]

## The Lake Woebegon Effect and Counting Numbers

Mathematician Jim Propp connects the counting numbers — the concept of them, not particular, specific numbers — to the seemingly unconnected Lake Woebegon Effect. Propp’s essay appears in his Mathematical Enchantments blog: Beneath and Beyond … The twentieth century weekly radio show “A Prairie Home Companion” had a recurring feature called “The news from Lake […]

## You Might Say Too Many Names for Too Many Numbers

“One problem with using nomenclature that gives credit to specific people is that you either create a winner-take-all situation or you create an ungainly string of names separated by hyphens. Also, if some hitherto unknown forerunner suddenly pops up, you suddenly have to change the name to acknowledge the newly discovered ‘winner’ “. So writes […]

## A math cookie recipe for extra-ambitious caterers

Caterers who cater to every whim can tuck away this cookie recipe, saving it for the day a customer demands mathematics-laced cookies: This recipe was cooked up by Jon Jacobsen and Kym Louie, for the Mathematics Association of America. (Thanks to Stanley Eigen for bringing this to our attention.)

## Null Salad—A Mathematician goes salad bowling

Mathematician Jim Propp worries over a concept he’s been trying, for decades, to digest: Null Salad. Propp explains: “If you have arugula, basil, celery, dandelion, and endive leaves, how many different tossed salads can you make?” That question, or something like it, was asked in a Math Bowl that I participated in back in high […]

## Successor Rules for Flipping Pancakes and Burnt Pancakes

The theoretical advanced in pancake flipping, discusses in the August 2020 issue of mini-AIR, were not the end of the story.  Further advances can be found in this study: “Successor Rules for Flipping Pancakes and Burnt Pancakes,” Joe Sawada and A. Williams, Theoretical Computer Science, vol. 609, part 1, 4 January 2016, pp 60-75. The […]

## Pocket-Sized #1008: “Horse Calculus”

Horse Calculus In this Pocket-Sized episode #1008, Marc Abrahams shows an unusual research study to Mason Porter. Dramatic readings and reactions ensue. The research mentioned in this episode is featured in the special Mathematics issue (Vol. 16, #4) of the Annals of Improbable Research Magazine. Remember, our Patreon donors, on most levels, get access to each podcast episode before […]

## Mathematics and the end of the world, predictably

A prize-winning profession confidently confronts a new challenge. Some professionals—professionals who professionally calculate a date on which the world will end—have calculated that the COVID-19 pandemic is not a goodbye-everyone harbinger. The Washington Post reports, on March 17, 2020: This is not the end of the world, according to Christians who study the end of […]

## Factorizations in the Chicken McNugget monoid

A new study serves up new nuggets of mathematical insight from Chicken McNuggets: “Distances between factorizations in the Chicken McNugget monoid,” Scott Chapman, Pedro Garcia-Sanchez, Christopher O’Neill, arXiv 1912.04494v1, 2019. The authors explain: We use the Chicken McNugget Monoid to demonstrate various factorization properties related to relations and chains of factorizations. We study in depth […]

## Mathematicians’ Continuing Fascination with Cakes

If you had to choose one of the many papers written by mathematicians about cakes, and you had to choose that one at random, you might choose this one: “Better Ways to Cut a Cake,” Steven J. Brams, Michael A. Jones and Christian Klamler, Notices of the American Mathematical Society, December 2006, vol. 53, no. […]