MÃ¶bius Ship by Tim Hawkinson at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. But will it float?
The Euler Archive
Leonhard Euler was a Swiss mathematician and physicist. All of his work is available online in the Euler Archive from Dartmouth. The collection includes the original papers, translations, correspondence and modern research using Euler’s work.
Update: The archive now resides with the Mathematical Association of America and has changed address (reflected above).
God as an alien mathematician
There’s an interesting interview with Hugo de Garis in h+ magazine. From the beginning of the piece:
Hugo, youâ€™ve recently published an article on KurzweilAI.net titled â€œFrom Cosmism to Deismâ€, which essentially posits a transhumanist argument that some sort of â€œGodâ€ exists, i.e. some sort of intelligent creator of our universe â€“ and furthermore that this â€œcreatorâ€ is probably some sort of mathematician.
We’re just tiny bits of a big equation being used to determine the optimal baking time for a quiche in the unfathomably large oven at a cosmic dinner party.
Dark Ages not so dark
Apparently the Dark Ages weren’t as bleak as we’ve been led to believe.
We have this idea that it was a time of superstition and ignorance when people didnâ€™t look at the world around them and certainly didnâ€™t look at it with a scientific eye. In fact, the Church considered mathematics the highest form of worship. Before you were allowed to study theology, you had to study the seven liberal arts â€” grammar, rhetoric, dialectic, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music.
So the concept that the Church was against learning is wrong. For five or six hundred years after the Fall of Rome, it was the Church that preserved and expanded learning. And in Gerbertâ€™s time they were actively seeking it out among Muslims and Jews. The Crusades were a hundred years later, and the Spanish Inquisition took place two hundred years later. All of the â€œdarkâ€ stuff happened after the Dark Ages.
Cracking scratch lottery tickets
Mohan Srivastava, a statistician from Toronto, cracked the numerical system behind a series of scratch lottery tickets.
â€œOnce I worked out how much money I could make if this was my full-time job, I got a lot less excited,â€ Srivastava says. â€œIâ€™d have to travel from store to store and spend 45 seconds cracking each card. I estimated that I could expect to make about $600 a day. Thatâ€™s not bad. But to be honest, I make more as a consultant, and I find consulting to be a lot more interesting than scratch lottery tickets.â€
Eventually the gaming commission listened to him and removed the tickets from stores.
Mathematicians may be cold and lifeless, but definitely not heartless — there’s proof.
Joy of Stats video
The Joy of Stats with Professor Hans Rosling, an hour-long documentary from the BBC. Statistics are anything but boring, according to nine out of every ten mathematicians.
Rithmomachy is a complex, Early European, mathematical board game. The literal translation is “Battle of Numbers”. It’s similar to chess, but the capture of pieces depends on the numbers on each piece. Rhythmomachy Basics provides a few more details than the Wikipedia entry.
Alice as mathematical satire
The absurdity in Alice in Wonderland is often attributed to drugs or a dark trip into the subconscious. For her PhD work, Melanie Bayley examined some of the most popular scenes from a mathematical perspective, which is summed up in Alice’s adventures in algebra. Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Caroll) was a rather conservative mathematician, who disagreed with many of the new mathematical theories emerging during the 19th century.
The madness of Wonderland, I believe, reflects Dodgson’s views on the dangers of this new symbolic algebra. Alice has moved from a rational world to a land where even numbers behave erratically.
I don’t imagine that Tim Burton’s new Alice in Wonderland will delve too deeply into mathematical theory.
Scanned images of 3D geometry diagrams from Richard at Ace Jet 170. Now I just need to find a pair of glasses so I can see them properly.