Archive for the ‘Math’ Category

Why Do You Hate Math?

May 29, 2014

Prof. Edward Frenkel, University of California, Berkeley:

“Imagine that you had to take an art class in which you were taught only how to paint a fence or a wall but were never shown the paintings of the great masters. Would that make you an art lover? Years later you will talk to your friends and say ‘Oh my gosh! I hated art at school, I was so bad at it.’ What you would really be saying is ‘I was bad at painting the fence.’ And likewise with mathematics people often say ‘Oh, I was so bad at math, I hate math.’ but what they are really saying is ‘I was bad at painting the fence.’”

Picture math as an expression of beauty.

Tell your friends, your children, math is beautiful.

Then pause. Smile.

Let them take it from there.

Math is amazing.

Use it to paint the world.

 

 

 


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PI Day 3/14

March 14, 2014

Pi is one of Nature’s most mysterious and fascinating constants

Pi is everywhere.

It’s in equations of planetary orbits, the color of the Northern Lights, even the structure of DNA.

Per Wikipedia:

“The number π is a mathematical constant, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, approximately equal to 3.14159. It has been represented by the Greek letter ‘π’ since the mid-18th century though it is also sometimes spelled out as ‘pi’ (/paɪ/).”

Pi fascinates humans, and has for a long, long time.

Artists celebrate it, too:

Pi Day
Michael Albert, artist, NewYork: info@michaelalbert.com 

Pi also frustrates us.

For example, it’s an irrational number.

We are unable to explain it as an exact, common fraction.

Darn thing never ends in decimal form – which is infinitely long.

And it never evolves into a permanent, repeating pattern.

Supercomputers calculate Pi out to billions and billions of digits.

“And they’re still going.” No end in sight.

One school kid memorized Pi to 10,980 digits:

Source: teachpi.org

The bottom line?

Although the value of Pi is just more than three, it’s flat-out fascinating.

Into math – (or geometry, cosmology, fractals, electromagnetism, statistics) – you’ve already fallen deeply into Pi.

Not only that. Pi is “Phun.”

You can compute Pi by dropping needles.

Or with frozen hot dogs.

Really.

Try the hot dog test.

Fry and eat them later.

Pi is so cool, it even has its own day.

Today.

March 14. As in, 3.14.

The difference?

This day will end.

Pi keeps on giving.

But why?

That’s a mystery.


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