The Ham Sandwich Theorem has been a treat and a spur to mathematicians for more than half a century. There was a bit of a kerfuffle about who invented it, but that question did get settled. The Ham Sandwich Theorem cropped up in a branch of mathematics called algebraic topology. The theorem describes a particular truth about […]

# Tag: mathematics

## Copyright connundrum of Pi digital music

Vi Hart made this video to explain and deplore the legal questions, copyrightically speaking, that arise when a composer converts the digits of the number pi into musical notes; In this related video, Hart counts, on the digits of one hand, some related musings:

## Math: Advantage of selecting politicians randomly

The Italian research team that received an Ig Nobel Prize in 2010 for demonstrating mathematically that organizations would become more efficient if they promoted people at random has extended its work (as well as gained some team members). Their new study is: “Accidental Politicians: How Randomly Selected Legislators Can Improve Parliament Efficiency“, A. Pluchino, C. […]

## Improved kissing numbers, by Kumar

“As an interesting by-product, we improve the kissing numbers in dimensions 25 through 31.” — from the description of a talk to be given on Monday, March 7, 2011 at Northeastern University, by mathematician Abhinav Kumar (whose Erdös Number is 2 — a fact of interest to those interested in Erdös Numbers. (Thanks to investigator […]

## Purposes: Philosophy vs. mathematics

What is mathematics? Somebody once said that philosophy is the misuse of a terminology which was invented just for this purpose.* In the same vein, I would say that mathematics is the science of skillful operations with concepts and rules invented just for this purpose. — from “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural […]

## Improbable Mathematics issue

The special Mathematics issue (vol. 16, no. 4) of the magazine (the Annals of Improbable Research) is now online. The pleasing-paper version was mailed to subscribers a while ago. Click on the magazine cover (below) to download a free PDF, or buy a high-quality PDF. Or subscribe to the paper version. Mel (right) says it’s […]

## Math: An ideal 2nd cup of coffee

There is a best way – mathematically– to pour your second cup of coffee, says a study called Recursive Binary Sequences of Differences that will appeal to anyone who is truly pernickety about their beverages. But no one realised it until the year 2001, when Robert M Richman published his simple recipe in the journal […]

## The 101 controversy, revisited

It’s time for a fond look back at great 101 controversy. The great 101 controversy was launched in the July 2001 issue of mini-AIR. A celebrated mathematics professor of our acquaintance asked for help with the following dilemma: A woman called the math department earlier this year. Her son is in first grade. The first […]

## Math: “Frustratingly easy” (1)

Though some people say mathematics is frustratingly difficult, all must agree that one part of it is frustratingly easy. Or at least agree that the title of a particular study is “Frustratingly Easy Semi-supervised Domain Adaptation.” Written by Abhishek Kumar, Avishek Saha, Hal Daume III, P. Thomas Fletcher and Suresh Venkatasubramanian, its abstract clarifies matters, […]

## Why Students Hate Algebra

Dan Meyer (a different Dan Meyer than the Ig Nobel Prize-winning swordswallower) writes: (One Of Many Reasons) Why Students Hate Algebra [At a “professional development day” for all us math teachers, a math coach presented this as a good problem to give students:] A youth group with 26 members is going to the beach. There […]