Mathematics

Adventures in Ethics and Science

Category archives for Mathematics

The title of John Tierney’s recent column in the New York Times, “Daring to Discuss Women’s Potential in Science”, suggests that Tierney thinks there’s something dangerous about even raising the subject: The House of Representatives has passed what I like to think of as Larry’s Law. The official title of this legislation is “Fulfilling the…

Do the math.

After the open house at the college radio station, I paid a visit to a now-defunct cafe that used to be downstairs from the radio station studio and found the following calculation written on the wall:

The Free-Ride offspring have been using the silkworms as a springboard for discussions of math as well as biology. We started with 16 silkworms hatched from eggs that came home last June. They were joined, a couple weeks after they hatched, by another 15 silkworms brought home from the science classroom at school.

Dr. Isis has some rollicking good discussions going on at her pad about who might care about blogs, and what role they might play in scientific education, training, and interactions. (Part one, part two.) On the second of these posts, a comment from Pascale lodged itself in my brain: I think a lot of impressionable…

Since we’re trying to get out of town for the weekend, Casa Free-Ride is a hive of activity. (As we seem to be passing another cold back and forth, it’s also a hive of mucus. Ew.) But we have time to update you on recurrent topics of conversation this week around the Free-Ride kitchen table.…

It’s a proud day for any parent when offspring start getting interested in formal proofs. So I felt a little thrill when the elder Free-Ride offspring sat down with Dr. Free-Ride’s better half to consider whether it was possible for there to be a largest prime number:

In a frequently recycled list of proposed New Year’s resolutions, Ann Landers urges: Vow not to make a promise you don’t think you can keep. However, she fails to advise a course of action in the case that you think you might not be able to live up to this vow. (Maybe she was too…

There’s a neat article [1] in the September-October 2008 issue of American Scientist (although sadly, this particular article seems not to be online) in which Brian Hayes discusses the Monty Hall problem and people’s strong resistance to the official solution to it. Now, folks like Jason have discussed the actual puzzle about probabilities in great…

Girls, boys, and math.

You’ve probably already heard the news last week that a study published in Science indicates that the gender gap between girls and boys in mathematical performance may be melting faster than the polar ice caps. The study, “Gender Similarities Characterize Math Performance” by Janet S. Hyde et al., appears in the July 25, 2008 issue…

Today Chad has an interesting post about attitudes among academics toward math and science versus the humanities and arts. The general attitude Chad sees on display in his academic milieu is that a gappy knowledge of art history or music or literature is something to be embarrassed about, but when it comes to innumeracy or…