Math

Category archives for Math

Ask Ethan #22: The no-birthday paradox

“There are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents, and only one for birthday presents, you know.” -Lewis Carroll It’s the end of the week once again, and so it’s time for yet another Ask Ethan column! This week, I was asked a wonderful math question by Keith H., who wanted to know: Among…

Ask Ethan #6: The Center of the Universe

“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.” –C. S. Lewis And yet, when you search for the truth, you often find answers that butt…

The Dark Depths of the Universe

“By denying scientific principles, one can maintain any paradox.” –Galileo Galilei Day and night. It seems like the simplest, most natural thing about our world, that the Sun illuminates one half of the Earth at a time. While the Earth spins on its axis, orbiting the Sun, roughly half of our lives are spent bathed…

Weekend Diversion: Chess is Almost Solved!

“There are some things we do much better than computers, but since most of chess is tactically based they do many things better than humans. And this imbalance remains. I no longer have any issues. It’s a bit like asking an astronomer, does he mind that a telescope does all the work?” –Vishy Anand It…

“Arithmetic! Algebra! Geometry! Grandiose trinity! Luminous triangle! Whoever has not known you is without sense!” –Comte de Lautréamont When you think about it, it’s amazing that our physical Universe makes sense at all. The fact that we can observe what’s happening, determine the laws that govern it, and predict what will happen under the same…

“If a ‘religion’ is defined to be a system of ideas that contains unprovable statements, then Gödel taught us that mathematics is not only a religion, it is the only religion that can prove itself to be one.” –John Barrow Image is from the front cover of the most important medieval picture bible to survive.…

Pi Day Fun Facts!

“Now go on, boy, and pay attention. Because if you do, someday, you may achieve something that we Simpsons have dreamed about for generations: you may outsmart someone!” –Homer Simpson Today, March 14th, is known tongue-in-cheek as Pi Day here in the United States, as 3.14 (we write the month first) are the first three…

“Every year I teach dozens of students at the University of Birmingham. Most of the students on the gender and sexuality courses are women. I guess this is because the boys don’t think that gender applies to them: that it’s a subject for girls.” –Louise Brown You know the stereotype, perpetrated throughout the United States…

And so I’m where, exactly?

“And you may find yourself in another part of the world. And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile. And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife. And you may ask yourself, ‘Well, how did I get here?’” –Talking Heads What would you do if you…

Exposing a Climate Science Fraud

“After all, facts are facts, and although we may quote one to another with a chuckle the words of the Wise Statesman, ‘Lies – damned lies – and statistics,’ still there are some easy figures the simplest must understand, and the astutest cannot wriggle out of.” –Leonard Courtney, 1895 “The first and worst of all…