Tag: Mathematics

The Math Equation That Tried to Stump the Internet

Mathematical Twitter is normally a quiet, well-ordered place, a refuge from the aggravations of the internet. But on July 28, someone who must have been a troll off-duty decided to upset the stillness, and did so with a surefire provocation. It has to do with something that high school teachers call “the order of operations.” […]

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In Brazil, Architects Explore ‘the Logic of the Weave’

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — On a Tuesday afternoon in early July,Alison Grace Martin, the British artist and weaver, joined a steady stream of Paulistanos along the elevated freeway that curves through downtown São Paulo. The two-mile “Minhocão” (named after a mythic “gigantic earthworm”) was closed to cars that day. The only traffic was on foot […]

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Mitchell Feigenbaum, Physicist Who Made Sense of Chaos, Dies at 74

Mitchell J. Feigenbaum, a pioneer in the field of mathematical physics known as chaos, died on June 30 in Manhattan. He was 74. The cause was a heart attack, his stepson Sasha Dobrovolsky said. Dr. Feigenbaum’s intense, eclectic curiosity led him to questions far astray from the ones usually asked by theoretical physicists. How does […]

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Two Brilliant Siblings and the Curious Consolations of Math

At the 1994 reception for the prestigious Kyoto Prize, awarded for achievements that contribute to humanity, the French mathematician André Weil turned to his fellow honoree, the film director Akira Kurosawa, and said: “I have a great advantage over you. I can love and admire your work, but you cannot love and admire my work.” […]

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Alan Turing Will Be New Face of £50 Note, Bank of England Says

LONDON — Alan Turing, the computing pioneer who became one of the most influential code breakers of World War II, has been chosen by the Bank of England to be the new face of its 50-pound note. The decision to put Mr. Turing on the highest-denomination English bank note, worth about $62, adds to growing […]

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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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