Can You Solve Isaac Newton's Tree Puzzle?

This week’s puzzle is not about gravity, though you’d be excused for suspecting as much. After all, when most people read “Isaac Newton” and “tree” in the same sentence, they think also of falling apples. But this week’s puzzle, which is widely attributed to Newton, is actually an exercise in orderly arboriculture. » 7/26/15 12:30pm 7/26/15 12:30pm

Try Your Hand At This Surprisingly Difficult Matchstick Puzzle

Matchstick puzzles (aka toothpick puzzles) typically involve adding to, subtracting from, or rearranging an initial configuration of matchsticks to create another, target configuration of matchsticks. Some of these puzzles can get rather complicated. This matchstick puzzle is more straightforward than most, but… » 2/08/15 1:00pm 2/08/15 1:00pm

How To Prove A Geometric Formula With A Clementine And A Piece of Paper

Here's a fun demonstration from Cornell maths professor Steven Strogatz. Take a clementine (or any spherical, peelable fruit) and trace around its widest part four times. Then peel it. Flatten out the peelings as best you can and divvy them up evenly among the circles. Voilà! Tangible proof that the the surface area… » 1/14/15 4:50pm 1/14/15 4:50pm

A 19th Century Math Genius Taught Us The Best Way To Hold Pizza

We've all been there. You pick up a slice of pizza and you're about to take a bite, but it flops over and dangles limply from your fingers instead. The crust isn't stiff enough to support the weight of the slice. Maybe you should have gone for fewer toppings? No. There's no need to despair. » 10/10/14 9:30am 10/10/14 9:30am

Celebrating Jean-Félix Picard's Birthday With Geodetic Trivia

If you find having a favourite map projection a delightfully geeky quirk, you're going to want to raise a toast in honour of Jean-Félix Picard. Geodetics and cartography owe a debt of gratitude to the 17th century scientist who made the first accurate measurement of the Earth's size. » 7/22/14 2:27am 7/22/14 2:27am