Mathematics

The Quantum Pontiff

Category archives for Mathematics

Vote Early, Vote Often

Vote for Mrs. Pontiff’s entry into the Scienceblogs pie contest here “Bacon made me do it.”

Spicy Pi Bacon Squared

3.141592…om nom nom nom! Behold! Mrs. Pontiff’s entry into the Scienceblogs pi day pie contest, variously known as “Spicy Brittle Bacon Chocolate Pie”, “Spicy Pi Bacon Squared”, or “Bacon brittle…om nom nom nom nom!” (On the March 14, a poll will open on scienceblogs for the pi contest. Then all two of the readers of…

Fixed Point Structure

From a crazy model to a concrete question: is there a nice mathematical structure hidden here?

(1+p)(1-p)

I wonder how many people this week realized that “ten percent down” followed by “ten percent up” does not equal “no change.” Probably a few. And how many realized that “ten percent down” followed by “ten percent up” is the same as “ten percent up” followed by “ten percent down”? Or that up 5 percent,…

DonorChoose, an organization which matches teachers requests for funds with donors, is running their annual blogger challenge. Already Cosmic Variance is trying to harness their vast resources of physicists, The Optimizer is appealing to the base nerd in everyone, He of Uncertain Principles is offering up his dog’s services for donations (does the dog know?),…

DARPA Math Challenge

DARPA math challenges. My favorite is “Mathematical Challenge Nineteen: Settle the Riemann Hypothesis.” I’m guess that’s one where you can’t follow the age old strategy of writing a grant proposal for work you’ve already figured out

Two New Mersenne Primes

Two new Mersenne primes: 243,112,609-1 and 237,156,667-1. The former is now the largest prime number known. Interestingly the larger was discovered before the former, thus winning $100,000 from the EFF for Edson Smith who installed the software which identified this Mersenne prime on a UCLA computer. The $100K prize was for the first 10 million…

Wisely Using Your Advantage

When I was a little kid I used to take a pair of dice and throw these dice repeatedly. At each throw I’d fill in a box for the corresponding number on some graph paper and I would essentially “race” the numbers against each other. I suppose for that reason I’ve always been fascinated not…

Closed Timelike Mathematicians

John Baez points to a remarkable mathematician (having being lead there by Alissa Crans): You may have heard of the Mathematics Genealogy Project. This is a wonderful database that lets you look up the Ph.D. advisor and students of almost any mathematician. This is how I traced back my genealogy to Gauss back in week166.…

Occupational Arrows of Time

One of the subjects of great debate in physics goes under the moniker of “the arrow of time.” The basic debate here is (very) roughly to try to understand why time goes it’s merry way seemingly in one direction, especially given that the many of the laws of physics appear to behave the same going…