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.

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…

New POTW, and Funny Science Videos

The fifth Problem Of the Week has now been posted at the big website. I’ve also posted an “official” solution to Problem Four. POTW will be taking two weeks off after this one, so you will have to make this last. (Spring break is almost upon us, which seems incredible considering how cold it is…

Fry On the Problem Of Evil, Part One

My favorite philosophical conundrum has been back in the news lately, thanks to a recent interview with British actor Stephen Fry: Asked by the interviewer what he would say to God were he to discover, after his death, that He existed, Fry replied: I’d say, bone cancer in children? What’s that about? How dare you?…

The Epic USATE Post!

All my hard work in Baltimore, and all the frustrations of the various drives, paled to insignificance upon arriving at the Parsippany Hilton. You see, it was time for another go at the U. S. Amateur Team East chess tournament. It’s one of the biggest chess parties of the year, with more than 1300 players…