Wild About Math! Making Math fun and accessible


Upcoming popular Math books from Princeton University Press

Princeton University Press recently sent me a list of their upcoming popular Math books. I'm looking forward to reviewing each of them when they're published. I've given the publisher some attention in this blog as I enjoy their books.

In Pursuit of the Traveling Salesman: Mathematics at the Limits of Computation by William J. Cook (January 2012)

Cook tells the story of one of the most famous math problems in the world. He starts in the 1800s when Irish mathematician W. R. Hamilton first defined the problem and brings the story to current, high-tech attempts to solve it.

On the Princeton University Press site and on Facebook

Magical Mathematics: The Mathematical Ideas that Animate Great Magic Tricks by Persi Diaconis & Ron Graham (November 2011)

Diaconis and Graham merge two passions – card tricks and math. In this book you will learn step-by-step how to amaze your friends with card tricks! Then you will learn the math that guarantees the startling results.

On the Princeton University Press site and on Facebook

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New Sage book

PACKT Publishing has just released a book: Sage Beginner's Guide. Sage is open-source Math software that combines a number of Python programs into one interface. Sage is in the class of programs that Magma, Maple, Mathematica and Matlab are in. The book is available in both electronic and paper formats. The publisher is sending me a review copy. I'll share my impressions of the book when I receive it.

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First ever contest at Playing With Mathematica

If you have nothing more interesting to do on this fine American holiday weekend than write Mathematica code then head over to my Mathematica blog for a fun challenge. You could win 20 American dollars (via Paypal to those outside of the US.

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Wild About Math blogs 5/20/11

Summer is coming to Santa Fe. Welcome to another edition of Wild About Math Blogs!

Check out the Mathematics and Multimedia Carnival #11 at Love of Learning Blog.

My Playing With Mathematica Blog is doing well. For a new blog, in a niche space, to have nearly 100 subscribers and over 100 article views per day in only three weeks is quite cool! If you're getting up to speed on Mathematica or even if you're a Mathematica whiz I think you'll like the blog.

I really like this essay at Without Geometry, Life is Pointless: Teaching Problem Solving, Part 1: Starting with a Good Problem. Here's the first of five characteristics:

The problem is accessible. It minimizes vocabulary and notation (and vocabulary and notation that does exist should simplify, not complicate). It should only be as precise as necessary. The problem should have multiple entry points, and include ways to collect data of some sort. It should have multiple methods that promote different learning styles and celebrate different ways of being smart. It may have multiple valid solutions.

Brent Yorgey, one of my very favorite Math bloggers, has a nice little proof by induction of a neat property of numbers in the Fibonacci series. This is a good example of proof by induction for those new to the technique.

The Wolfram Blog has a fascinating story: Former Microsoft CTO Uses Mathematica to Explore the Science of Modernist Cuisine.

Ever wondered how to grill the perfect steak? Or how well dunking food into an ice bath stops the cooking process? Nathan Myhrvold used Mathematica to answer these questions, and many others.

Myhrvold, the first chief technology officer at Microsoft, has had a longtime interest in cooking and has a background in science and technology. When he started using new techniques like sous vide, in which food is slowly cooked in vacuum-sealed bags in water at low temperature, he discovered that many chefs don’t know much about the science behind cooking. He decided to change that with a massive cookbook that was released in March. In 2,438 pages, Modernist Cuisine covers a wide range of cooking techniques and their scientific backgrounds, including heat transfer and the growth of pathogens. (It has recipes, too.)

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Geometry at the Royal Ballet

I received an email asking me to promote a ballet at the Royal Opera House that is rich in geometry. Here's the email.

Dear Sol,

The Royal Opera House is currently preparing to stage a triple bill ballet programme opening this Saturday, 28th May, featuring Frederick Ashton’s Scènes de ballet. This exceptional production introduces an intriguing complexity around geometrics with dancing movements creating a geometrical pattern.

We are very interested in attracting both old and new audiences, and particularly interesting is the geometricity of the ballet, which we would love audiences to experience.

We think this could be of an interest to your readers. You can find more information about the production on our website.

Would it be possible for us to leave a comment on your blog inviting audiences to these shows, or could you cover the upcoming production yourself?

Kind regards,


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BBC Math radio programs

If you've not discovered these outstanding radio programs, you're in for a treat.

Here are just some of the programs at the BBC.

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Calling all Math bloggers who tweet

[ Update 5/25/11 ] I've deleted the Mathtweet group for several reasons which I may or may not blog about sometime.

I notice that my new Playing With Mathematica blog gets a fair amount of traffic from twitter. I'd like more of that traffic so I've come up with an idea and a plan that will serve all of us.

How about if those of us who are Math bloggers tweet each other's blog articles? Friendfeed makes it easy to create a private (invitation only) group where we can post our latest Math blog articles so I've created such a group.

The commitment for anyone in the group is to tweet a large percentage (or all) of the links members post. If you don't like an article then don't tweet it. If you don't like most of what people post then this group isn't for you. While the commitment is for all of us to post to twitter, you are also welcome and encouraged to post to other social networks. Friendfeed is free (say that three times fast) and makes it very easy to post to a handful of social networks.

I'm the owner of the group so you need to email me at sol dot lederman at gmail dot com to receive an invitation. Please include your twitter id so that I can verify that you're active on twitter. If I don't know your blog then please send me a link to that as well so I can check it out. If your blog is heavy on commercial and light on content then I won't send you an invite. I want to have members with content that people feel good about promoting. And, if I discover that some members are receiving benefits but aren't tweeting very much then I'll drop them from the group.

Send me an email if you'd like an invite or if you have any questions.

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Wild About Math blogs 5/13/11

Welcome to the post-Mother's Day edition of Wild About Math Blogs!

Carnival of Mathematics #77 has been posted at Jost a Mon.

Scientific American just republished a wonderful article they originally published in 1961: The Mathematician as an Explorer. Hat tip to Shecky.

Murray at squareCircleZ has a very thought provoking article: Is there a place for invention in math?

Each time one prematurely teaches a child something he could have discovered for himself, that child is kept from inventing it and consequently from understanding it completely.

Statistics lovers might enjoy this little gem from xkcd:

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Wolfram|Alpha turns 2

From the Wolfram Blog:

Celebrate Wolfram|Alpha Turning 2 with a Live Q&A with Stephen Wolfram

Another year has flown by here at Wolfram|Alpha, and the gears are really turning! New data and features are flowing at a rapid rate. To celebrate, Wolfram|Alpha’s creator, Stephen Wolfram, will share what we’ve been working on and take your questions in a live Q&A.

Please join us on Facebook or Wolfram|Alpha’s Livestream on Wednesday, May 18, 2011, at 10am PDT/12pm CDT/1pm EDT/6pm BST.

If you have a question you’d like to ask, please send it as a comment to this blog post or tweet to @Wolfram_Alpha and include the hashtag #WAChat. We’ll also be taking questions live on Facebook and Livestream chat during the webcast.

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Mathematica and Multimedia Blog Carnival #11 is up!

Mathematica and Multimedia Blog Carnival #11 is up at Love of Learning Blog.

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