Hannah Fry, in this Numberphile video, tots up the cases of rock-paper-scissors mathematics as applied to lizards: This goes back, more or less, to a sex study published in the year 2000: “Polygyny, mate-guarding, and posthumous fertilization as alternative male mating strategies,” Kelly R. Zamudio and Barry Sinervo, PNAS, 2000 97 (26) 14427-14432. Here’s a photo of rock-paper-scissors/lizards […]

# Tag: mathematics

## Bourbaki and the Oulipo

The group of self-chosen elite, somewhat secretive mathematicians called Bourbaki have become the subject, or perhaps the object, of a study in a journal about romance. The study is: “Bourbaki and the Oulipo,” Jacques Roubaud [pictured here], Journal of Romance Studies, Volume 7, Number 3, Winter 2007 , pp. 123-132. The author, himself a profesor […]

## A book no mathematician can resist?

What mathematician could resist buying a copy of this book, after reading the bookseller’s description: Logics of Worlds is the long-awaited sequel to Alain Badiou’s much-heralded masterpiece, Being and Event. Tackling the questions that had been left open by Being and Event, and answering many of his critics in the process, Badiou supplements his pioneering treatment […]

## Vi Hart’s Mobius Fruit Foot

Vi Hart plays with mathematics and her food—in this case a treat called Fruit by the Foot: BONUS: The book Cubed Foot Gardening

## Mathematicians’ Romantic Yearning for Love and Chaos

Here’s the latest chapter in a possibly endless series of papers by different mathematicians fancifully using the metaphors and mathematics of chaos to tell and re-tell tales of love: “Love stories can be unpredictable: Jules et Jim in the vortex of life,” Fabio Dercole and Sergio Rinaldi, Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science, vol. 24, 023134, 2014. […]

## He and they approached hallucinations mathematically

In 2001, Paul Bressloff of the University of Utah, together with four colleagues from elsewhere, made a mathematical assault on the — until then — lack of understanding of what happens in a so-called “geometric hallucination”. Here’s Bresloff: Here’s the study: “Geometric visual hallucinations, Euclidean symmetry and the functional architecture of striate cortex,” P. C. Bressloff, […]

## Fitness: round holes and square holes, pegged

Wolfram Mathworld bores down into a much-discussed-by-others-but-usually-idly question about pegs and holes: The answer to the question “which fits better, a round peg in a square hole, or a square peg in a round hole?” can be interpreted as asking which is larger, the ratio of the area of a circle to its circumscribed square, or the area of thesquare to its circumscribed circle? […]

## Behold the Non-Squeezing Property Of Contact Balls

The field of mathematics often supplies papers that demand attention even from casual observers. Here’s a new one: “Non-Squeezing Property Of Contact Balls,” Sheng-Fu Chiu, arXiv 1405.1178v1, May 6, 2014. The author is at Northwestern University. Here’s detail from the study: BONUS (unrelated): “IMPROVEMENT IN MACHINES FOR SQUEEZING PUDDLERS BALLS,” US Patent #190,385, granted to E. […]

## First attempts to model bipolar patients as harmonic oscillators

People with bipolar disorder swing between mood extremes. A team of mathematicians decided to see how much of that swinging they could describe mathematically. Mason Porter, then at the Georgia Institute of Technology and now at Oxford University, with several US colleagues, published a study in 2009, Mathematical Models of Bipolar Disorder. It appeared in the journal Communications […]

## A convoluted way to say “Hi”

The Walking Randomly blog tells this tale: One website I came across (I have lost the link unfortunately) suggested that you get something interesting looking if you plot the following equation over the region -3<x<3, -5<y<5. It also suggested that you should only plot the z values in the range 0<z<0.001. Suitably intrigued, I issued […]