Archive for the 'Mathematics' Category


Monday, August 8th, 2016

Physics Girl: Can you solve this pier puzzle? (YouTube)

“Can you figure it out? There are two towns near a shore. They want to build a pier on the shoreline with a path connecting the pier to each town. They want to use as little material as possible, so they need to put the pier in a location on the shoreline that minimizes the total length of both paths added together. Where should they put the pier?”

Mathematik im Abitur – oder doch nicht?

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: Streit um Mathe-Abitur: Denken darf hier nur der Taschenrechner.

“Ein stumpfsinniger Stresstoleranztest: Niedersachsens Kultusministerium muss die Mathe-Klausuren der Abiturienten neu bewerten. Wie man es besser macht, zeigen die Finnen. Ein Gastbeitrag.” Von Hans-Jürgen Bandelt und Hans-Jürgen Matschull. “Hans-Jürgen Bandelt ist Professor für Mathematik an der Universität Hamburg, Hans-Jürgen Matschull lehrt Mathematik und Physik am Lichtenberg-Gymnasium in Cuxhaven.”

“Ich habe eine 113 gewürfelt…”

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

The New Yorker: The Dice You Never Knew You Needed.

“[T]wo scientists from the Dice Lab, Robert Fathauer and Henry Segerman, débuted their newest specimen, fresh from the petri dish. They had invented – or, rather, discovered; no, really they’d just inexplicably gone to the trouble of creating – a die with a hundred and twenty sides. “What do you use it for?” Fathauer asked the audience. “We have no idea,” he answered. Futility notwithstanding, the d120 is billed as the “ultimate fair die allowed by Mother Nature (i.e., mathematics!),” since a die couldn’t, practically speaking, possess more sides or more symmetry, and dice must be symmetrical to be fair.”

Watch the d120 in action on YouTube.

You can susbstitute the d120 for any dn in which n is a proper factor of 120; here’s a handy chart for this use.

Even though I don’t play any games that require more than a d6 or two and even though already own a d8, d12, d24, d30 (alphabet with 4 wildcards) and a d100 that I almost never use, I somehow feel like I need to also have a d120.

Links via MetaFilter: Or, disdyakis triacontahedron.

What’s the largest number you know?

Monday, April 25th, 2016

Tim Urban posted some interesting articles on Wait but why that illustrate large numbers:

From 1 to 1 000 000 is the tame beginning, with visualizations of numbers up to a million.

From 1 000 000 to Graham’s Number continues the journey up to Graham’s Number, compared to which a Googol and even a Googolplex is just an epsilon.

In 7.3 Billion People, One Building, he explains how long a chain of all living humans would be, and how big a building would have to be to fit them all in.

These were posted in November 2014 and March 2015, but except for the number of humans on earth (which has been estimated at 7.4 billion in March of 2016) should still be current.

Zero ≠ nothing

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

What is Zero? Getting Something from Nothing – with Hannah Fry “Is zero really a number? How did it come about? Hannah Fry tells the story of how zero went from nothing to something.”

Link via Schockwellenreiter.