Weekly Picks

November 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

We try to read every blog post that goes through Mathblogging.org. For the Weekly Picks, we collect posts from last week that give you an impression of what the mathematical blogosphere has to offer.

Since we’re running awfully late, here’s a quick list.


profkeithdevlin explained why Algebra is not “Arithmetic with letters”.
Better Explained takes a metaphor for the interaction of intuition and rigor and runs with it.
21st century educator resolved some common objections to computer-use in math education (with a follow-up).
Musing Mathematically pondered how cellphones can be used for instant feedback in class.


0xDE discussed cordal graphs and the eternal problem that properties that are clear for finite structures are not at all clear for infinite structures.
felixbreuer taught at a teach-in against police violence (here are the lecture notes).
Disquisitiones Mathematicae shared some “extended” slides from a talk on diffusion in the Ehrenfest wind-tree model.
Gowers’s Weblog gave an insight into how to think mathematics while proving the fundamental theorem of arithmetic.
Jacques Distler’s Musings suggested that an old “A train leaves”-riddle might help understand the superluminous neutrinos.


Knot your average sheep finished a post on MathsJam started a year ago.

The Accidental Mathematician shared the most insightful comments on the new-publishing-model discussion.

Xi’an’s Og encountered an unusual ethical problem while refereeing a PhD.


Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks gave you the 15 best names in Mathematics.

matthen generated an evolving shape with a small genetic algorithm.
As always,

Weekly Picks

November 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

We try to read every blog post that goes through Mathblogging.org. For the Weekly Picks, we collect posts from last week that give you an impression of what the mathematical blogosphere has to offer.

Let’s kick off with some posts that showcase that mathematics is all around us: Quomodocumque was at Music Hack Day, looking for the rules of melody — Fantastic! Intersections — Poetry with Mathematics quotes a poem by Sarah Glaz incorporating the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic. And of course the calender sparked a lot of posts, our personal favorite being the one of Freakonometrics (translation).

There are a lot of bloggers using GeoGebra for visualizations, and we never found the right spot to mention them. So here’s an example for you: Gaussianos with a beautiful post on cycloids, astroids and other curves generated by movement  (translation).

Moving on, the Renaissance Mathematicus wrote about the difficulty of calling somebody an inventor in a historically accurate way, Computational Complexity gave a short introduction to bitcoins, Azimuth had a guest post on measuring bio diversity, and Casting Out Nines explains that math is not too hard for university students, it’s just the wrong kind of hard.

On the research-side of blogging, Gödel’s Lost Letter and P=NP proposes a topic for a new polymath project, Gil Kalai starts a new series on expanders, Low Dimensional Topology asks when you should care about a conjecture, and Libres pensées d’un mathématicien ordinaire tells us about some favourite sets of matrices.

On the educator-blogs, Angrymath wants to reasonably discuss 1=0.999… in the classroom, and Math 4 Love proposes a nice puzzle that is similar to the Collatz Conjecture (but easier), with a follow-up.

Finally, if you were interested in the debates about mathematical publishing, here are two more contributions: Nuit Blanche senses the end of the peer-review bubble and A CS Professor’s Blog brings a radical idea to the table: you should submit other people’s work instead of your own.


Mathblogging.org finalist in Delft University Innovation award

November 11, 2011 § 3 Comments

For the second time now, Delft University of Technology asked its researchers to throw their hats into the ring for the Delft Innovation Award, looking for the most innovative projects.

Well, we had an afternoon to spare, so we filled out the application form for mathblogging.org. To our delight we made it to the final round of 24!

Our chances might be slim (in 2009, this awesome invention won), but it’s already been a great experience! As part of the final round,  Fred was interviewed about mathblogging.org and we’ll get a super-awesomesauce poster made for us! The clip will be on youtube sometime next week and we’ll be sure to keep you updated here!

PS: If you’re an employee at TU Delft, you could even vote for us in the Public’s Choice Award, also starting sometime next week.

Weekly Picks

November 9, 2011 § 1 Comment

We try to read every blog post that goes through Mathblogging.org. For the Weekly Picks, we collect posts from last week that give you an impression of what the mathematical blogosphere has to offer.

Certainly the biggest splash last week was the post of Timothy Gowers on what we would come up with if there weren’t any journals. It was followed up by Computational Complexity, Gowers himself, and the Geomblog, giving also a nice overview and linking to several related posts.

If you are a researcher also interested in education, maybe you would like to ponder together with Observational Epidemiology about what is the worst example of dead wood in high school math curricula. Also worth a look is the post of Gyre&Gimble on the abstraction cliff: where college math majors run into problems after the first introductory courses.

Speaking of teaching: On Musing Mathematically there was a very reasonable comment on the chances of the Khan Academy in math education, Without Geometry, Life Is Pointless started a new series on habits of the mind, and at Better Explained there was a nice post on how to enable students to understand (and not just learn) the Pythagorean theorem.

More on the research-level of mathematics you can find a beautiful exposition on a researcher’s approach of proving the fundamental lemma of Arithmetic on MathBlog, after many debates about “multiplication is not iterated addition”, Keith Devlin gives you the gritty truth, and  Tito Eliatron Dixit had a wonderful introduction to the mathematics of the Carbon-14 method (translation).

Moving even deeper into the details, John D. Cook says why he is much less worried about floating point errors than about modeling errors, Bubbles Bad; Ripples Good takes a simple problem about 2d-functions and their infimum-in-one-corrdinate function and from there dives a bit down the rabbit hole, and, returning to a more applied topic, Regularize gives a nice introduction on reconstructing signals.

A more journalistic post can be found on the +plus-magazine, a really well written presentation of the Fibonacci series. And here’s one last post for this week: Math Prize for Girls Community gives an example that being good at math often means being good at many things, in this case linguistics.


Call for feature requests!

November 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

In case you’re not following us on twitter, we find ourselves in the surprising situation that things are running quite smoothly on mathblogging.org.

Therefore, we’re thinking about new features — and we want your input!

Please leave a comment, send us an email or send us a tweet with ideas on how we can serve the mathematical blogosphere better!

Weekly Picks

November 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

We try to read every blog post that goes through Mathblogging.org. For the Weekly Picks, we collect posts from last week that give you an impression of what the mathematical blogosphere has to offer.

Bit-player and Mr. Palomar (translation) remembered John McCarthy.

Évariste Galois’s 200th Birthday was celebrated at Peter Cameron’s Blog and Mathlog (translation) who also celebrated Chern’s 100th birthday (translation).

On the general audience side of blogging, The Endeavour shared an elegant proof by Erdős on prime numbers, bit-player wondered about the decreasing relative size of the n-dimensional unit ball, Mathlog (translation) covered the recent decryption of an 18th century code and Images des Mathématiques  (translation) had an introduction to the open question of tilings with pentagons.

On the educator side of blogs, Real Teaching Means Real Learning had a discussion on students reporting how much they learn from multiple choice tests etc,   Think, Thank, Thunk wondered about feeling bad you don’t knows something,  dy/dan shared some criteria for engaging problems and emergent math made a point about the biggest untapped resource for math problems: the weather.

On the research side of blogging, 0xDE put together a wikibook on Fundamental Data Structures, Casting Out Nines uses less examples and more peer instruction, Azimuth explained the complexity barrier of Chatin’s incompleteness theorem and SymOmega asked for help in finding a mysterious graph.

On the research community side of blogging, Xi’an’s Og discussed a recent French example for how Europe is driving away top graduates, Geometry Bulletin Board shared a letter to EPSRC’s David Delpy, Nuit Blanche explained why sharing code and data is compound interest  and Punk Rock OR collected five articles about women and engineering; also, the EMS linked to information on major changes among the European research funding organizations.

For some Halloween scare, watch Singing Banana’s 28 Minutes Later – The Maths of Zombies.

Shout outs to

(x,why?) who turned 4 — congrats!

SquareCircleZ who hosted the 16th Mathematics and Multimedia Blog Carnival.


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