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.

POTW 8

Sorry, I just realized I never got around to posting the link to the new Problem of the Week. I’ve generally been impressed with the comments that have been left on previous POTWs, so hopefully folks will find this one interesting as well. I think it’s a little bit easier than the last two, but…

Sunday Chess Problem

I had originally picked out another Circe problem for your enjoyment this week. However, this particular problem was in the genre of “series” movers, and it occurred to me that I had never shown you one of those before. I didn’t want your first one to be the rather complex affair I had selected. So,…

The Vacuity of “Natural Law”

In this recent essay at The New York Times, philosopher Gary Gutting argues that the Catholic Church should reconsider its ban on gay sex and its opposition to gay marriage, for explicitly Catholic reasons. He is especially critical of “natural law” arguments against homosexuality. It’s mostly a sensible essay, I think, but it is not…

John Urschel Does Math

My main line of research is in algebraic graph theory. In particular I am interested in the eigenvalue spectra of Laplacians on graphs. Those don’t often get mentioned over at HuffPo, so I raised an eyebrow when I saw this: A mathematician by the name of John Urschel recently published a complex paper in the…

New Problem Of the Week

As you might have noticed, Sunday Chess Problem had the week off. If you really need to get your fix, though, you can have a look at this web page I made for my chess problems. You’ll recognize a few of them from the Sunday Chess Problem series. I did, however, manage to get the…

Secondlawapalooza has broken out over at Uncommon Descent, with a series of posts trying one more time to convince the thinking world that either evolution or abiogenesis violates the second law of thermodynamics. They are unmoved by the fact that the violation exists only in their minds. One recent post, by Eric Anderson, is entitled,…

Problem Of the Week Returns!

School has started up again, and so has Problem Of the Week! Problem six has now been posted. As I’ve mentioned, in the second half of the semester the problems get a bit harder. But have a go at it anyway, and feel free to leave solutions in the comments.

Sunday Chess Problem

With the students returning tomorrow I’m afraid I have to blog and run. But I do want to continue my look at Circe problems this week. So here’s a minor effort of mine, published in the U. S. Problem Bulletin all the way back in 1994. The stipulation calls for mate in ten. But remember…

Pi Day!

Today’s date is March 14, 2015. That’s 3/14/15. That’s the first five digits of pi! And if you’re using 12-hour time, then you have two chances to be reading this at 9:26:53. That’s the first ten digits of pi! Oh happy day! And a welcome chance to stick a thumb in the eye of all…

Article Processing Charges

In yesterday’s post I mentioned that I wanted to use spring break to make progress on various writing and research projects. One of those projects is based on one of the Darwin Day talks I gave in February, in which I discussed some of the mathematical arguments used by anti-evolutionists. In my preparations I gathered…

Sunday Chess Problem

Blogging will continue to be light around here for at least another week. It’s spring break, you see. That’s hard to believe considering that Thursday and Friday of last week were both snow days, meaning that our spring break opened with a raging blizzard. Spring break is a good time to make progress on various…

Sunday Chess Problem

One of the underappreciated aspects of chess composition is that some problems have a sense of humor. Sure, the real classics show deep and surprising ideas and do so with impressive constructional finesse. But other problems just bring a smile to your face. This week I have two such problems for you. Neither is difficult…

Leonard Nimoy Has Died

Sad news: Leonard Nimoy, the sonorous, gaunt-faced actor who won a worshipful global following as Mr. Spock, the resolutely logical human-alien first officer of the Starship Enterprise in the television and movie juggernaut “Star Trek,” died on Friday morning at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. He was 83. His wife,…

Fry On the Problem Of Evil, Part Two

There’s lots of good blog fodder out there, but I don’t want to let too much time go by before finishing my discussion of Stephen Fry’s presentation of the Problem of Evil. See Part One for the full context. Of all the responses I’ve seen to Fry’s interview, there was one that was so bizarre…

Academic Freedom

Let’s consider a hypothetical situation. Professor Jones, who has tenure, learns that a graduate student in a different department has conducted a class in a manner he finds objectionable. So Jones writes a blog post in which he attacks the graduate student by name. He uses incendiary rhetoric he could reasonably know would lead to…