Tag: Mathematics

Solving a Leafy Mathematical Mystery

Next time you go outside, take a minute to look at your local leaf arrangements. You’ll probably notice a few different patterns. In basil plants, each leaf is about 90 degrees — a quarter-turn — from the last, a template called “decussate.” A visualization of a decussate leaf pattern. The redder the coloring, the stronger […]

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Overlooked No More: Alan Turing, Condemned Code Breaker and Computer Visionary

Overlooked is a series of obituaries about remarkable people whose deaths, beginning in 1851, went unreported in The Times. This month we’re adding the stories of important L.G.B.T.Q. figures. By Alan Cowell LONDON — His genius embraced the first visions of modern computing and produced seminal insights into what became known as “artificial intelligence.” As […]

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Who’s Afraid of Arabic Numerals?

Should Americans, as part of their school curriculum, learn Arabic numerals? CivicScience, a Pittsburgh-based research firm, put that question to some 3,200 Americans recently in a poll seemingly about mathematics, but the outcome was a measure of students’ attitudes toward the Arab world. Some 56 percent of the respondents said, “No.” Fifteen percent had no […]

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The Eclipse That Made Einstein Famous

A century ago, on May 29, 1919, the universe was momentarily perturbed, and Albert Einstein became famous. Einstein himself apparently had no special plans for what he knew could be a momentous day. He was home in Berlin. He wrote a letter admitting a “blunder” in an ongoing debate with Theodor Kaluza, a German mathematician […]

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