The Whys, Wherefores, and Wonders of Mathematics

Check out this delightful video of math teacher Paul Lockhart—author of Measurement, "a permanent solution to math phobia by introducing us to mathematics as an artful way of thinking and living"—waxing lyrical about the splendors of mathematics and mathematical thinking, and why "the mathematical question is always… » 4/17/15 3:40pm Friday 3:40pm

Chicks Might Map Numbers From Left To Right – Just Like Us!

When you think of the numbers 1–10, you probably envision them running along a line, with 1 on the left and 10 on the right. Scientists have long debated whether this tendency is hardwired or culturally instilled. This week, the hardwired camp scored a major point. Young chickens, it seems, also map numbers from… » 1/30/15 10:40am 1/30/15 10:40am

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

The Correct Way(s) To Load A Dishwasher

The dishwasher! The perennial optimization problem. Even the chronically untidy have been known to harbor strong opinions on efficient loading technique. But did you know dishwasher manuals actually include photos and illustrations of ideal rack layouts? (Be honest – did you even realize your dishwasher had a manual?) » 1/07/15 11:30am 1/07/15 11:30am

MIT Students Build Handmade Wooden Roller Coaster For Incoming Freshmen

The coaster was designed by three mechanical engineering juniors and built in the span of a week by the incoming freshmen who would ride its wooden rails. In early designs, the coaster even had an internal loop. Unfortunately, MIT's Environment Health and Safety department said "no upside-down people. Period." » 12/27/14 7:48am 12/27/14 7:48am