Jason Rosenhouse received his PhD in mathematics from Dartmouth College in 2000. He subsequently spent three years as a post-doc at Kansas State University. Currently he is Associate Professor of Mathematics at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. This blog is about science, religion, math, politics and chess, roughly in that order.

Political Blues

I think in the end Hillary will win in November, but I become less confident about that by the day. Donald Trump’s latest is to bring up Vince Foster. Those of us who remember the nineties will recall this as one of the many fake scandals the right-wing noise machine just invented from whole cloth.…

I may not blog as much as I used to, but I do still sometimes put myself out there. I just did a podcast with Jim Stein, posted over at the New Books Network. Jim is professor of mathematics at California State University at Long Beach. The conversation was about the book I coedited with…

Sunday Chess Problem

Yes, I know it’s Monday. But it’s still Sunday Chess Problem. Deal with it. One more from the files of Milan Vukcevich for you. This problem was published in 1994 and calls for selfmate in five: Recall that in a selfmate, white plays first and tries to force black to give mate in no more…

I was going to write a real barn burner of a post about the big election, but then I came across this: Folks, sometimes you just have to focus on the good things in life.

Secularism and Social Justice

Sunday Chess Problem is taking this week off. We do have a topic for conversation, however. Richard Weikart is an historian at California State University, Stanislaus. He has made something of a cottage industry of blaming Darwin and evolution for the ills of the world, most famously in his book From Darwin to Hitler. His…

Book News

A copy of the Japanese edition of Taking Sudoku Seriously showed up in the mail today: Cool! The little bit of English on the cover is the only part I can understand, but it looks like they did a real good job. The diagrams all look good, at any rate. And while I’m at it,…

Sunday Chess Problem

This week I have one more problem from Milan Vukcevich for you. This one was published in Chess Life magazine in 1986. It later won first prize in the tourney. It caught my eye when the award was published, and it was one of the problems that got me interested in composing in the first…

Here’s a a charming story: On Thursday evening, a 40-year-old man — with dark, curly hair, olive skin and an exotic foreign accent — boarded a plane. It was a regional jet making a short, uneventful hop from Philadelphia to nearby Syracuse. Or so dozens of unsuspecting passengers thought. The curly-haired man tried to keep…

Crackpots

Did you hear the one about how Charles Darwin wasn’t the creator of natural selection? Did you know that other people had had the idea before him? Oh, you did know that? Because anyone who has ever spent five minutes learning about the history of evolutionary thought knows that? Well, tell that to Daniel Engber…

Sunday Chess Problem

It’s been a busy few weeks. I hosted a Passover seder. (What? Atheists can’t have seders?) Actually, I run a pretty laid back seder, all the more so this year considering there were goyim in attendance. It’s mostly just a big dinner with some Hebrew and matzoh and charoset thrown in for fun. But if…

Sunday Chess Problem

This week I have another problem from Milan Vukcevich for you. It was published in 1998. The position below calls for white to move and mate in five. White has two main ideas in this position. One is to move his bishop to f4, with the plan of giving mate on d6. The other is…

The Final POTW

My trip to New York was a lot of fun. Some friends from Kentucky were visiting me this weekend, and that was fun too. But in all the chaos Sunday Chess Problem ended up taking the week off. Sorry about that! It will return next week. POTW, on the other hand, is not taking the…

Penultimate POTW Now Available!

I have just posted the penultimate POTW for the term, along with the “official” solution to last week’s problem. Only one more problem after this, then it’s nothing until the fall. Enjoy them while they last!

Sunday Chess Problem

Folks, I’m back from Atlanta. This trip was the meat in a travel sandwich that started with my brief visit to Indiana two weeks ago, and ends with my trip to New York on Wednesday. (I’m speaking at The Museum of Mathematics!) Busy, busy, busy. But not too bus to serve up a Sunday Chess…

To Atlanta!

I’m leaving for Atlanta tomorrow, to participate in the biennial Gathering For Gardner conference. Martin Gardner’s interests were math, magic, and fighting pseudoscience. My kind of guy! While I’m away, you can discuss Sergey Karjakin’s surprise win in the big chess candidate’s tournament. His victory gets earns him a title match against World Champion Magnus…