Carnival of Mathematics – Silver Jubilee Edition
Welcome everyone to this, the 25th edition of the Carnival of Mathematics. The 25th anniversary of many things is usually considered to be a little bit special and is often marked by a ‘Silver’ celebration of some sort. For example, in 1977, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom celebrated her 25th Year on the throne with a Silver Jubilee celebration and the British Royal Mail commemorated the event by releasing the postage stamps below
Technically speaking of course I should have waited until the Carnival had been around for 25 years rather than 25 posts but I thought I would exercise a little poetic license here – I hope the host of the real Silver Jubilee Edition in 24 years time will accept my heartfelt apologies.
So what else is interesting about the number 25? Obviously it is a square number but did you know that it is also the smallest square that can be expressed as the sum of two squares . It is also a Cullen Number and is the atomic number of the element Manganese. Twenty-Five is also the name of a card game that is sometimes referred to as the national card game of Ireland.
Enough of the random meanderings and on with the show…
The first two submissions come from Mathmom over at Ramblings of a Math Mom who asks the question “Should gifted math students tutor others?” This is something I had personal experience of when I was at school (both good and bad) so I found her arguments interesting – feel free to head over there and add to the discussion, I am sure you will be made very welcome. Her second submission concerns probability-fallacies.
Next up we have Arvind Narayanan from the randomwalker’s journal (we have no connection other than both of our blogs have cool names!) who explains the mathematics behind part of Arthur Benjamin’s act in “Mathemagics” explained. I love this sort of stuff and may well be trying it out on some of my (long suffering) friends.
Over at Reasonable Deviations (I always think of Richard Feynman when I see that blog name), Rod presents an interesting problem in thinking about permutations. It has already sparked an interesting discussion in his comments section so why not head over and see if you can have a go at solving it? I tried, and failed, but you might have more luck.
Maria Miller highlights a link to Classic Math Mistakes over at Homeschool Math Blog which includes posters for classic howlers like “3.1hrs = 3 hours 10 minutes.” My favorite is “Finishing an exam early and then sitting doing nothing” which is clearly an elementary error when every true math geek knows that the correct procedure is to clear your throat loudly as you stand up to leave. This ensures that all of your classmates know that you have finished early and so must be better at maths than they are – just make sure that they never find out that your actual score on the exam was only 6% as it ruins the illusion.
The next submission comes from the blog of Mr Kruopatwa’s AP Calculus AB (2007-2008) class and concerns a favourite topic of mine – namely the evaluation of integrals. One of his students, Mr Siwwy (AKA Chris), asks the question ‘How “approximate” can approximate can be’ and discusses some of the elementary methods of numerical integration. In an ideal world we would always be able to come up with exact answers for our definite integrals but, as we all know, the world is far from ideal and so we often must make do with numerical approximations. Chris’ post discusses how you might start to go about making such approximations. I had not discovered this blog before now and, if all of the posts are going to be this good, then I look forward to reading more.
Over at Goods and Chattels, Amanda has been reminiscing about one of the problems from her student days in An interesting mathematics puzzle. Some maths problems seem trivial when you first read them and so you mutter “All too easy!” as you start working on them, expecting it to all be over after a few minutes. Several hours (and pieces of paper) later you give up in frustration, try to forget about it and get on with your life…but then another idea strikes you….another way of attacking it….this one might just work you know…just one more go….and it has you again. This is one of those problems. Have fun – but no peeking at the solution!
Sol’s Fun Math Blog has only been around for four months and yet it is one of the most read in the blath-sphere. Building up a Technorati rating of 88 in such a short amount of time says it all really – Sol writes stuff that the rest of us like to read and link to. His submission, “five constants tie together multiple branches of mathematics”, discusses some of the mathematics behind the equation that Feynman once called “The most remarkable formula in math”. I remember the first time I discovered this equation – my response was pretty similar to this one (don’t click if swearing offends you).
Denise discusses a quotation from Ralph P. Boas about what it takes to learn math over at her blog, Let’s Play Math. The phenomenon mentioned is something that I am sure we are all familiar with from our student (and teaching) days and her article is well worth a read. Any blog article that mentions a paper with the title “A Contribution to the Mathematical Theory of Big Game Hunting” is just begging to be read in my opinion.
What sort of calculations can do perform using nothing but your fingers and thumbs? Until I read Heathers’ article – Three finger tricks for multiplying – the best I could do was count to ten on them but now they quite a bit more versatile Head over to 360 if you want to upgrade your digits.
And now for something completely different…Rick from Big Ideas submitted an article called
Mathematical Beauty and the K4 Crystal. Check out that gorgeous looking bit of perl – If only I could write stuff like that :)
And – with that – I’m done. I hope you have enjoyed reading this carnival as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thanks to everybody who submitted articles – I loved reading through them all. The next carnival is over at 360 so start thinking about what your submissions might be,