Wild About Math! Making Math fun and accessible


Martin Gardner: RIP

I just learned of Martin Gardner's death from the 360 Blog. He passed away on May 22nd. Scientific American has just republished a 1993 essay by Douglas Hoftstadter about Gardner.

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Museum of Mathematics giving away iPad

[ I received this email yesterday about a contest put on by the Museum of Mathematics. Entering is easy. Deadline is June 1st, 2010 so hurry. ]


Hello. The Museum of Mathematics – America’s only museum dedicated to the love of math – has an innovative "Math Is Fun" Twitter Campaign. We’re making math cool one tweet at a time. Please send this email out to your constituents, and post the contest on your blog, website, Twitter and/or Facebook pages.

Enter the Museum of Mathematics’ Twitter contest and tell the world why you love math! The best tweet with hashtag #MathIsFun will win a free iPad. Contest ends June 1, 2010. For more info, go to: http://momath.org/about/love-math/.

To see what people are tweeting, go to: http://twitter.com/#search?q=%23mathisfun


Walter Dawkins
dawkins AT momath.org

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A few odds and ends

Here are a few items that don't each warrant its own post.

  1. I'll be hosting the next Carnival of Mathematics (#66) on June 4th. If you're new to Blog Carnivals you can read about them here and here. The current Carnival of Mathematics is hosted at Maxwell's Demon. You can submit an article for the next Carnival of Mathematics by clicking on the orange button here. The idea is that through blog carnivals you can promote your blog and put your Math articles in front of a bunch of readers. There's no restriction on whether your article is very basic or very advanced. It's all good.
  2. I've gotten some responses but not very many to my post about reviewing Math books on your blog. As an example of what kinds of books I get, here are the books in my pile that I still need to review:

    * Cows in the Maze by Ian Stewart
    * Secret Language by Barry Blake
    * How to Read Historical Mathematics by Benjamin Wardhaugh
    * 101 Things Everyone Should Know About Math by Zev, Segal, and Levy
    * Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks by G. Patrick Vennebush

    These are not dry books. They're fun books! If you're interested in reviewing books and you have an established Math or related blog, check out this post and follow the instructions there.

  3. The Math 2.0 Interest Group puts on great webcasts. I need to review the site as its own post but just last night the group hosted the creator of the very popular Cut The Knot website, Alexander Bogomolny. You can listen to the recording here.

That's it for now.

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I’m hosting the June 4th Carnival of Mathematics

The title says it all. Please submit your entries here.

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Review: Easy as Pi: The Countless Ways We Use Numbers Every Day

Reader's Digest just published "Easy as Pi: The Countless Ways We Use Numbers Every Day." One of their PR people asked if I'd review it and, as usual, I agreed. "Easy as Pi" is a book of fun Math trivia. It's aimed at people who like fun facts and are curious about Math or at least about numbers. Math geeks may or may not like the book. It's certainly not a text book. Those who like history will more likely enjoy the book as it is rich in backstory.

I have to admit that I'm not good with trivia so most of the facts in the book were new to me. Here are some questions to ponder that are covered:

  • Did you know that there is a block of social security numbers that are never used, just like the 555 US telephone prefix (which is partially unused?)
  • What are some of the theories of how 13 became an unlucky number?
  • What is "The 23 Enigma?"
  • What is the relationship between the pentagram and the golden ratio?

"Easy as Pi" is a fun read for the young mathematician or for the curious non-mathematician as the book is not at all intimidating.