Wild About Math! Making Math fun and accessible


Wild About Math bloggers 12/10/10

[ The 12/17 edition is at Equalis. Here's the 12/10 edition. ]

December 10th is my birthday so today's column is the "Happy Birthday to me" edition. And, in honor of my birthday, I'm running a contest at Wild About Math! where you can win a TI-84 Silver Edition graphing calculator for solving the James Tanton puzzle at the end of this video:

Carnival of Mathematics #72 is posted at the 360 Blog.

Here's a great trick performed by David Copperfield based on something called Kruskal's principle. It is the most clever application of this principle I've seen and I've seen a bunch. See Grey Matters and this second post for more on this principle.

Murray at squareCircleZ tells us about a translation of Euclid's Elements from Greek with Greek and English side-by-side. I've not read Euclid's Elements so I learned a few things from Murray:

  • "The Elements, contrary to popular belief, wasn’t original work by Euclid since most of the theorems were by other Greek mathematicians (Aristotle, Eudoxus of Cnidus, Plato, Pythagoras)."
  • "Euclid’s contribution was to arrange the axioms, theorems and corollaries in a logical order such that it was easy to reference. He also wrote some of the proofs."
  • "Another misconception is that the Elements is only about geometry. In fact, there is a great deal about number theory as well."

Here's a challenge for you. How many famous mathematicians do you know the first name of? Here's a web-site that gives you eight minutes to come up with the first name for 50 of them. Ouch!

Ask a Mathematician / Ask a Physicist has a fun discussion of zero raised to the zero power. James Tanton has a great video on the subject too.

Casting Out Nines has an interesting article about learning styles. The article gave me something to look into:

[...] Is there a learning style model with reasonable predictive validity? Yes, according to Linda. The Felder-Silverman model has “good construct and predictive validity”within the context of teaching engineering students. The Felder-Silverman model isn’t as well known as the other models listed here, but given its greater validity, it’s worth being familiar with.

I'll leave you with this great be-careful-with-limits puzzle, Find the error, from Ben Vitale at "Find the error."

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  1. Happy Birthday! Keep up the good work!

    Regards, VMT

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