Wild About Math! Making Math fun and accessible


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.)

Here's a fun video from the cookbook's author: Exploring the Science of Cooking. Mathematica's Role in Modernist Cuisine.

Alasdairs Musings has a nice use of a symbolic Math system (in this case Sage) to demonstrate that every year has at one Friday the 13th. (Yes, we just had one last week.)

Dan at dy/dan has an intriguing article: The Three Acts Of A Mathematical Story.

Mike Croucher has a brief article at Walking Randomly: iPad 2 vs Supercomputers.

A while ago I wrote an article on comparing mobile phones with ancient supercomputers and today I learned that Jack Dongarra has run his Linpack benchmark on the iPad 2 and discovered that it has enough processing power to rival the Cray 2; the most powerful supercomputer in the world back in 1985. According to Jack, the iPad 2 is so powerful that it would have stayed in the top 500 list of world’s most powerful super computers until 1994. That’s a lot of power!

Have a good week.

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