Archive for the 'mathematics' Category

Jean Bartik, Software Pioneer, Dies at 86 (one of the Top Secret Rosies)


“Ms. Bartik was the last surviving member of the group of women who programmed the Eniac, or Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, which is credited as the first all-electronic digital computer.”

in The New York Times

“In 1942, when computers were human and women were underestimated, a group of female mathematicians helped win a war and usher in the modern computer age. Sixty-five years later their story has finally been told.”

in Top Secret Rosies

Top Secret Rosies Trailer from LeAnn Erickson on Vimeo.


Futurist Arthur C. Clarke on Mandelbrot’s Fractals


“As you may have heard, mathematician Benoît B. Mandelbrot, the father of fractal geometry, died on Thursday in Cambridge, Mass. He was 85. You can read the full obit in The New York Times, and if you want to learn more about his work, let me resurface this documentary we featured not too long ago. Back in 1995, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, the futurist and science fiction writer most well known for his novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, presented a television documentary on the 1980 discovery of the Mandelbrot Set (M-Set). Fractals: The Colors of Infinity brings us inside the world of fractal geometry, and soon enough we’re encountering what has been called “the thumbprint of God.” Clarke narrates the film, which has a 54 minute runtime. David Gilmour (guitarist, vocalist and songwriter for Pink Floyd) created the soundtrack. Big hat tip to Greg for sending this along…

Note: You can purchase online the DVD of the documentary, along with the original book on which it was based.”

in OpenCulture

Large study shows females are equal to males in math skills


“The idea that both genders have equal math abilities is widely accepted among social scientists, Hyde adds, but word has been slow to reach teachers and parents, who can play a negative role by guiding girls away from math-heavy sciences and engineering. “One reason I am still spending time on this is because parents and teachers continue to hold stereotypes that boys are better in math, and that can have a tremendous impact on individual girls who are told to stay away from engineering or the physical sciences because ‘Girls can’t do the math.'”

Scientists now know that stereotypes affect performance, Hyde adds. “There is lots of evidence that what we call ‘stereotype threat’ can hold women back in math. If, before a test, you imply that the women should expect to do a little worse than the men, that hurts performance. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

in University of Winsconsin-Madison

What Does ‘P vs. NP’ Mean for the Rest of Us?


“”P versus NP” is more than just an abstract mathematical puzzle. It seeks to determine–once and for all–which kinds of problems can be solved by computers, and which kinds cannot.”


Harvard Extension School’s Open Learning Initiative



First replicating creature spawned in life simulator


When Wade posted his self-replicating mathematical organism on a Life community website on 18 May, it sparked a wave of excitement. “This is truly ground-breaking work,” wrote a fellow Life enthusiast, Adam Goucher, on the website Game of Life News. “In fact, this is arguably the single most impressive and important pattern ever devised.”
in New Scientist

Nature by Numbers


A short movie inspired on numbers, geometry, and nature.

Female teachers can transfer fear of math and undermine girls’ math performance


“Female elementary school teachers can pass on their anxiety and stereotypes about math to female students, and girls who adopt this outlook perform worse at math, research at the University of Chicago shows.”
in Female teachers can transfer fear of math and undermine girls’ math performance

‘Nerd’ and ‘Geek’ Should Be Banned, Professor Says


«The connotations are a bit different: a geek suggests a person with special expertise, while nerd suggests social ineptness. And neither are cool.

And math, science and computer science, Dr. Anderegg said, are courses that young people too often associate with nerds and geeks. As a result, he added, “they sabotage themselves in these fields, and the nation’s work force is suffering.”»
in ‘Nerd’ and ‘Geek’ Should Be Banned, Professor Says

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Martin Gardner


“It never occurred to me that math could be fun until the day in grade school that my father gave me a book of 19th-century puzzles assembled by Mr. Gardner (…)”
“(…)«Martin has turned thousands of children into mathematicians, and thousands of mathematicians into children. »”

““I don’t think I ever wrote a column that required calculus,” he says. “The big secret of my success as a columnist was that I didn’t know much about math.
I had to struggle to get everything clear before I wrote a column, so that meant I could write it in a way that people could understand.» ”

in For Decades, Puzzling People With Mathematics