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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

How to Bake Pi Uses Math to Solve the Cookbook Paradox

There is a lie running through your cookbooks. No, it’s not that you can substitute crackers for apples in your pie and no one will know the difference (though, come on, let’s be decent to each other, folks: Knock that off.) The lie goes much deeper than all that, and is the source of what I call the Cookbook Paradox.
» 7/10/15 2:20pm 7/10/15 2:20pm

Why Cooking Is A Lot Like Mathematics

I’ve come to believe that mathematics, as an investigative science, as a practical discipline and as a creative art, shares many characteristics with cookery. It’s not just spaghetti alla carbonara, it’s the whole business of inventing dishes and preparing them. It’s an analogy with many parts, and it has consequences. » 6/19/15 3:00pm 6/19/15 3:00pm

A Little Number Theory Makes The Times Table A Thing Of Beauty

Most people will probably remember the times tables from primary school quizzes. There might be patterns in some of them (the simple doubling of the 2 times table) but others you just learnt by rote. And it was never quite clear just why it was necessary to know what 7 x 9 is off the top of your head. » 6/09/15 12:30pm 6/09/15 12:30pm

New Simulation Shows How The Pacific Islands May Have Been Colonized

The 24 major island groups of the Pacific Ocean were settled by early Austronesians between 3,500 and 900 years ago, but little is known about how these isolated islands were colonized. Now, researchers have used epidemiological modeling to devise some compelling new ideas about how it was done.
» 4/24/15 10:20am 4/24/15 10:20am

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 4/17/15 3:40pm