Remove a Nail, and the Painting Falls Off the Wall

An all-star team of computer scientists has come up with better ways to remove paintings from museum (or any other) walls). The team includes Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS) member Erik Demaine [pictured here] and RSA Security co-founder Ron Rivest. Their study is: “Picture-Hanging Puzzles,” Erik D. Demaine, Martin L. Demaine, Yair N. […]

Mathematicians’ views on delicate matters: local quivers

Mathematicians, as a group, are unafraid to confront almost any question (so long as it pertains at least hypothetically to mathematics) — even questions about delicate, local matters. Here’s an example, presented in the form of a treatise: “Local quivers and stable representations,” Jan Adriaenssens and Lieven LeBruyn [pictured here, possibly in the act of […]

How to deal with large and small numbers

Big numbers can be intimidating. Some people are more comfortable talking, instead, about small numbers. Here’s an example. In this video, called “Commission Meeting Million Dollar error Sept-23-2009“, a woman identified as Mrs. Carter asks two questions. Here’s a partial transcript: MRS. CARTER: “There were two things that were brought up at the budget committee […]

The unexpected end of 2011 (an Ig Nobel tribute)

This year, 2011, is ending—unexpectedly—in December. To celebrate, we pay tribute to the winners of this year’s Ig Nobel Prize in mathematics. The prize was awarded to: Dorothy Martin of the USA (who predicted the world would end in 1954), Pat Robertson of the USA (who predicted the world would end in 1982 [and whose book is pictured […]

The scientists who synchronize cows

A British-American team of scientists [co-author Mason Porter is pictured here] has produced a study called A Mathematical Model for the Dynamics and Synchronisation of Cows. They were driven partly by the intellectual challenge, and at least a little by an EU council directive, which mandates “that cattle housed in groups should be given sufficient space so […]

The World’s New Center of Pancake Research

With publication of the new study “Pancake Flipping is Hard” by three researchers at the University of Nantes, the city of Nantes becomes the de facto international capital of pancake research. Details of the study are given below. First, here is a Google map showing primary sources of pancakes in the city: The study is: “Pancake Flipping […]

Reminder: Ig Nobel winner says world WILL end Friday

This is a reminder to mark your calendar. Harold Camping, who shared the 2011 Ig Nobel Prize in mathematics, again says that the world will end this Friday, October 21, 2011. BACKGROUND:  This year’s Ig Nobel prize in mathematics was awarded two weeks ago to Dorothy Martin of the USA (who predicted the world would end in 1954), Pat […]

Camping schedule for October: The Halting Problem

Ig Nobel Prize-winner Harold Camping repeats his prediction that the world will end on October 21, 2011. Mr. Camping is an expert in what mathematicians call The Halting Problem. He gives you this audio greeting [click to hear it]. His website says: Thus we can be sure that the whole world, with the exception of those […]

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