mathematicshttp://www.wnyc.org/tags/mathematicsen-usThu, 23 Apr 2015 07:00:00 -0400600cleanMargaret Wertheim — The Grandeur and Limits of Science
http://www.wnyc.org/story/margaret-wertheim--the-grandeur-and-limits-of-science/A passionate translator of the beauty and relevance of scientific questions, Margaret Wertheim is also wise about the limits of science to tell the whole story of the human self across history and culture.
Thu, 23 Apr 2015 07:00:00 -0400http://www.wnyc.org/story/margaret-wertheim--the-grandeur-and-limits-of-science/changeclimatecoralcrochetcyberspacedantehyperbolicmathematicsonbeingphysicspublic radiosciencespacestarstipettipetttippettippettMargaret Wertheim — The Grandeur and Limits of Science
51:00A passionate translator of the beauty and relevance of scientific questions, Margaret Wertheim is also wise about the limits of science to tell the whole story of the human self across history and culture.[Unedited] Margaret Wertheim with Krista Tippett
http://www.wnyc.org/story/unedited-margaret-wertheim-with-krista-tippett/A passionate translator of the beauty and relevance of scientific questions, Margaret Wertheim is also wise about the limits of science to tell the whole story of the human self across history and culture.
Thu, 23 Apr 2015 06:59:00 -0400http://www.wnyc.org/story/unedited-margaret-wertheim-with-krista-tippett/changeclimatecoralcrochetcyberspacedantehyperbolicmathematicsonbeingphysicspublic radiosciencespacestarstipettipetttippettippett[Unedited] Margaret Wertheim with Krista Tippett
90:56A passionate translator of the beauty and relevance of scientific questions, Margaret Wertheim is also wise about the limits of science to tell the whole story of the human self across history and culture.Ada Lovelace Reborn in Graphic Novel
http://www.thetakeaway.org/story/ada-lovelace-reborn-graphic-novel/<p>The historic story of mathematician Ada Lovelace's life is a tragic one. Born to Annabella Milbanke and the poet Lord Byron, Lovelace was a modern visionary that ultimately led a tragic life, dying from cancer at the young age of<span> 36. </span></p>
<p>Her early death came while she was in the midst of an exciting project with mathematician Charles Babbage: Figuring out how to build the first computer, a gadget she and Babbage had dubbed the "Analytical Engine."</p>
<p>Graphic artist and animator <strong>Sydney Padua</strong> was struck by Lovelace's early passing—a fate that didn't allow her to complete this historic project.</p>
<p>So Padua decided someone needed to imagine a better ending for the duo. The result, "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Thrilling-Adventures-Lovelace-Babbage/dp/0307908275">The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage</a>," Padua's first graphic novel.</p>
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<div class="image-credit">(Credit: <a href="http://sydneypadua.com/2dgoggles/lovelace-the-origin-2/">Sydney Padua</a>)</div>
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<div class="image-credit">(Credit: <a href="http://sydneypadua.com/2dgoggles/lovelace-the-origin-2/">Sydney Padua</a>)</div>
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<div class="image-credit">(Credit: <a href="http://sydneypadua.com/2dgoggles/the-book/">Sydney Padua</a>)</div>
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<div class="image-credit">(Credit: <a href="http://sydneypadua.com/2dgoggles/the-book/">Sydney Padua</a>)</div>
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Mon, 20 Apr 2015 10:05:57 -0400http://www.thetakeaway.org/story/ada-lovelace-reborn-graphic-novel/ada_lovelaceartbookscomicsgraphic_novelhistoryillustrationliteraturemathematicsmedianational_newsnewsAda Lovelace Reborn in Graphic Novel
6:57The historic story of mathematician Ada Lovelace's life is a tragic one. Born to Annabella Milbanke and the poet Lord Byron, Lovelace was a modern visionary that ultimately led a tragic life, dying from cancer at the young age of 36.
Her early death came while she was in the midst of an exciting project with mathematician Charles Babbage: Figuring out how to build the first computer, a gadget she and Babbage had dubbed the "Analytical Engine."
Graphic artist and animator Sydney Padua was struck by Lovelace's early passing—a fate that didn't allow her to complete this historic project.
So Padua decided someone needed to imagine a better ending for the duo. The result, "The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage," Padua's first graphic novel.
(Credit: Sydney Padua)
(Credit: Sydney Padua)
(Credit: Sydney Padua)
(Credit: Sydney Padua)
The Mathematical Proof That Defined The Universe, A Career
http://www.wnyc.org/story/mathematical-proof-defined-universe-career/<p><a class="guestlink" href="/people/r/?n=C%C3%A9dric+Villani">Cédric Villani</a> is a French mathematician working primarily on partial differential equations and mathematical physics. In 2010, he received the Fields Medal, the most coveted prize in mathematics, in recognition of a proof which he and <span>his close collaborator, Clément Mouhot,</span> devised to explain one of the most surprising theories in classical physics.<span> </span><span class="book"><a title="buy this book at Amazon" target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0865477671/wnycorg-20/">Birth of a Theorem: A Mathematical Adventure</a></span> is Villani's account of the years leading up to the award, including unproductive lulls and late-night breakthroughs as he wrestles with the most important work of his career.</p>
<div class="embedded-image"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="https://media2.wnyc.org/i/176/264/l/80/1/VillaniCedricbyPierreMaraval.jpg" alt="" width="176" height="264"><div class="image-metadata">
<div class="image-caption">Cédric Villani</div>
<div class="image-credit">(Pierre Maraval)</div>
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<p> </p>
Tue, 14 Apr 2015 00:00:00 -0400http://www.wnyc.org/story/mathematical-proof-defined-universe-career/booksfields_medalmathematicsphysicsThe Mathematical Proof That Defined The Universe, A Career
28:07Cédric Villani is a French mathematician working primarily on partial differential equations and mathematical physics. In 2010, he received the Fields Medal, the most coveted prize in mathematics, in recognition of a proof which he and his close collaborator, Clément Mouhot, devised to explain one of the most surprising theories in classical physics. Birth of a Theorem: A Mathematical Adventure is Villani's account of the years leading up to the award, including unproductive lulls and late-night breakthroughs as he wrestles with the most important work of his career.
Cédric Villani
(Pierre Maraval)
Funny Numbers for the Math Phobic
http://www.wnyc.org/story/funny-numbers-math-phobic/<p><a class="guestlink" href="/people/r/?n=Matt+Parker">Matt Parker</a>, <a href="http://standupmaths.com/">stand-up comedian and mathematician, Guardian contributor</a> and the author of <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Things-Make-Fourth-Dimension-Mathematicians/dp/0374275653">Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension: A Mathematician's Journey Through Narcissistic Numbers, Optimal Dating Algorithms, at Least Two Kinds of Infinity, and More</a></em> (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014), shares the fun of mathematics.</p>
Fri, 19 Dec 2014 10:00:54 -0500http://www.wnyc.org/story/funny-numbers-math-phobic/booksmathematicsstand-up_comedyFunny Numbers for the Math Phobic
12:27Matt Parker, stand-up comedian and mathematician, Guardian contributor and the author of Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension: A Mathematician's Journey Through Narcissistic Numbers, Optimal Dating Algorithms, at Least Two Kinds of Infinity, and More (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014), shares the fun of mathematics.Bernard Chazelle — Discovering the Cosmology of Bach
http://www.wnyc.org/story/bernard-chazelle--discovering-the-cosmology-of-bach/<p>After hearing this conversation, you may never listen to any piece of music — whether Bach or Jay-Z — in quite the same way again.</p>
Thu, 13 Nov 2014 07:00:00 -0500http://www.wnyc.org/story/bernard-chazelle--discovering-the-cosmology-of-bach/bbachbernardchaconnechazelleclaviercomputergoldberginj.s.johannjohn'smassmathematicsmatthewsminoronbeingpassionpublic radiosciencesebastianst.tipettipetttippettippettvariationswell-temperedBernard Chazelle — Discovering the Cosmology of Bach
66:06After hearing this conversation, you may never listen to any piece of music — whether Bach or Jay-Z — in quite the same way again.[Unedited] Bernard Chazelle with Krista Tippett
http://www.wnyc.org/story/unedited-bernard-chazelle-with-krista-tippett/Thu, 13 Nov 2014 06:59:00 -0500http://www.wnyc.org/story/unedited-bernard-chazelle-with-krista-tippett/bbachbernardchaconnechazelleclaviercomputergoldberginj.s.johannjohn'smassmathematicsmatthewsminoronbeingpassionpublic radiosciencesebastianst.tipettipetttippettippettvariationswell-tempered[Unedited] Bernard Chazelle with Krista Tippett
92:52An Iranian woman makes history in winning a math prize
http://www.wnyc.org/story/an-iranian-woman-makes-history-in-winning-a-math-prize/Maryam Mirzakhani is the first woman and the first Iranian to win the Fields Medal, math's most prestigious prize.
Wed, 13 Aug 2014 15:09:57 -0400http://www.wnyc.org/story/an-iranian-woman-makes-history-in-winning-a-math-prize/asiafields medalgeometryghazal geshnizjaniinterviewiranlogicmaryam mirzakhanimathmathematical sciencesmathematicsmiddle eastsciencetech & environmenttech and environmentworld_newsAn Iranian woman makes history in winning a math prize
Maryam Mirzakhani is the first woman and the first Iranian to win the Fields Medal, math's most prestigious prize.Jim Bradley + Michael Ruse — The Evolution of the Science-Religion Debate
http://www.wnyc.org/story/jim-bradley-and-michael-ruse--the-evolution-of-the-sciencereligion-debate/Thu, 26 Jun 2014 07:00:00 -0400http://www.wnyc.org/story/jim-bradley-and-michael-ruse--the-evolution-of-the-sciencereligion-debate/augustinecreationdarwinethicsevolutionmathematicsonbeingpublic radiorandomnesssainttipettipetttippettippettJim Bradley + Michael Ruse — The Evolution of the Science-Religion Debate
51:00[Unedited] Jim Bradley and Michael Ruse with Krista Tippett
http://www.wnyc.org/story/unedited-jim-bradley-and-michael-ruse-with-krista-tippett/Thu, 26 Jun 2014 06:59:00 -0400http://www.wnyc.org/story/unedited-jim-bradley-and-michael-ruse-with-krista-tippett/augustinecreationdarwinethicsevolutionmathematicsonbeingpublic radiorandomnesssainttipettipetttippettippett[Unedited] Jim Bradley and Michael Ruse with Krista Tippett
87:13Janna Levin — Mathematics, Purpose, and Truth [remix]
http://www.wnyc.org/story/janna-levin--mathematics-purpose-and-truth-remix/Thu, 03 Apr 2014 07:00:00 -0400http://www.wnyc.org/story/janna-levin--mathematics-purpose-and-truth-remix/alangodeljannakurtlevinlogicmathmathematicsonbeingphysicspublic radiosciencetippettruthturingJanna Levin — Mathematics, Purpose, and Truth [remix]
51:00[Unedited] Janna Levin with Krista Tippett
http://www.wnyc.org/story/unedited-janna-levin-with-krista-tippett/Thu, 03 Apr 2014 06:59:00 -0400http://www.wnyc.org/story/unedited-janna-levin-with-krista-tippett/alangodeljannakurtlevinlogicmathmathematicsonbeingphysicspublic radiosciencetippettruthturing[Unedited] Janna Levin with Krista Tippett
76:00Keith Devlin — The Joy of Math: Learning and What It Means To Be Human
http://www.wnyc.org/story/3de0b15e2569b182528f0241/Mathematical equations are like sonnets says Keith Devlin. What most of us learn in school, he says, doesn’t begin to convey what mathematics is.
Thu, 19 Sep 2013 07:00:00 -0400http://www.wnyc.org/story/3de0b15e2569b182528f0241/beautyeducationeinsteinlearningleibnizmathematicsmoocsonbeingpublicpublic radiopythagorasradiotechnologytippetKeith Devlin — The Joy of Math: Learning and What It Means To Be Human
51:00Mathematical equations are like sonnets says Keith Devlin. What most of us learn in school, he says, doesn’t begin to convey what mathematics is.[Unedited] Keith Devlin with Krista Tippett
http://www.wnyc.org/story/65fc8bcebe2ff051bb33eed5/Mathematical equations are like sonnets says Keith Devlin. What most of us learn in school, he says, doesn’t begin to convey what mathematics is.
Thu, 19 Sep 2013 06:59:00 -0400http://www.wnyc.org/story/65fc8bcebe2ff051bb33eed5/beautyeducationeinsteinlearningleibnizmathematicsmoocsonbeingpublicpublic radiopythagorasradiotechnologytippet[Unedited] Keith Devlin with Krista Tippett
86:27Mathematical equations are like sonnets says Keith Devlin. What most of us learn in school, he says, doesn’t begin to convey what mathematics is.Watch Me Do Something Impossible In Three Totally Easy Steps
http://www.radiolab.org/story/312304-watch-me-do-something-impossible-three-totally-easy-steps/<p>Here's what the Swedish artist Oscar Reutersvard did. In 1934, he got himself a pen and paper and drew four cubes, like this.</p>
<p><img src="http://www.wnyc.org/i/raw/1/undefined_wide.jpg" alt="" width="620"></p>
<p><em>Robert Krulwich/NPR</em></p>
<p>Then he drew some more, like this.</p>
<p><img src="http://www.wnyc.org/i/raw/1/2_1.jpg" alt="" width="620"></p>
<p><em>Robert Krulwich/NPR</em></p>
<p>And, then — and this is where he got mischievous — he drew one more set, like this.</p>
<p><img src="http://www.wnyc.org/i/raw/1/3-new_custom.jpg" alt="" width="620"></p>
<p><em>Robert Krulwich/NPR</em></p>
<p>He called this final version "Impossible Triangle of Opus 1 No. 293aa." I don't know what the "293aa" is about, but he was right about "impossible." An arrangement like this cannot take place in the physical universe as we know it.</p>
<p>You follow the bottom row along with your eyes, then add another row, but when the third row pops in, where are you?</p>
<p>Nowhere you have ever been before. At some step in the process you've been tricked, but it's very, very hard to say where the trick is, because what's happening is your brain wants to see all these boxes as units of a single triangle and while the parts simply won't gel, your brain insists on seeing them as a whole. It's YOU who's playing the trick, and you can't un-be you. So you are your own prisoner.</p>
<p>At first, this feels like a neurological trap, like a lie you can't <em>not</em> believe.</p>
<p>But when you think about for a bit, it's the opposite, it's a release. Twenty years later, the mathematician/physicist Roger Penrose (and his dad, psychologist Lionel Penrose) did it again. They hadn't seen Reutersvard's triangle. Theirs was drawn in perspective, which makes it even more challenging. Here's my version of their Penrose Triangle.</p>
<p><img src="http://www.wnyc.org/i/raw/1/4_2.jpg" alt="" width="620"></p>
<p><em>Robert Krulwich/NPR</em></p>
<p>What's cool about this? I'm going to paraphrase science writer John D. Barrow, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/0195130820">who has written about these triangles</a> in several places: We know that these drawings can't exist in the physical world. Even as we look at them, <em>particularly when we look at them, </em>we know they are impossible. And yet, we can imagine them anyway. Our brains, it turns out, are not prisoners of the world we live in; we can fly free! We can, any time we like, create the impossible.</p>
<p>These triangles prove it. We don't feel crazy when we look at them, we laugh. We sense we've just stolen something or seen something that can't be out there in the world, and yet, here it is! As John Barrow puts it:</p>
<blockquote>
<p>The impossible is not necessarily something that lies outside our mental experience even if it falls outside our physical experience. We can create mental worlds which are quite different from the one we experience.</p>
</blockquote>
<p>You find versions of "impossible triangles" in M.C. Escher's drawings, of course, but variants turn up in Lewis Carroll's <em>Alice in Wonderland</em> stories, in Jorge Luis Borges, in Breugel, in Magritte. We may be the only creatures on Earth that can break the rules this way. One of the most wonderful thing about the human mind, I think, is it can contradict itself, like this:</p>
<p><img src="http://www.wnyc.org/i/raw/1/51_custom.jpg" alt="" width="620"></p>
<p><em>Robert Krulwich</em><em>/</em><em>NPR</em></p>
<hr size="2"><p><em>John D. Barrow has written about impossible triangles in his 1999 book</em><em> </em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/0195130820">Impossibility: The Limits of Science and the Science of Limits</a><em>. He's also included some in his picture book</em><em> </em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Cosmic-Imagery-Images-History-Science/dp/0393337995/">Cosmic Imagery: Key Images in the History of Science</a><em>. He's a professor of mathematical sciences and director of the Millennium Mathematics Project at Cambridge University.</em></p>
Thu, 08 Aug 2013 07:54:14 -0400http://www.radiolab.org/blogs/radiolab-blogland/2013/aug/08/watch-me-do-something-impossible-three-totally-easy-steps/brainillusionkrulwich_wondersmagicmathematicsHere's what the Swedish artist Oscar Reutersvard did. In 1934, he got himself a pen and paper and drew four cubes, like this.
Robert Krulwich/NPR
Then he drew some more, like this.
Robert Krulwich/NPR
And, then — and this is where he got mischievous — he drew one more set, like this.
Robert Krulwich/NPR
He called this final version "Impossible Triangle of Opus 1 No. 293aa." I don't know what the "293aa" is about, but he was right about "impossible." An arrangement like this cannot take place in the physical universe as we know it.
You follow the bottom row along with your eyes, then add another row, but when the third row pops in, where are you?
Nowhere you have ever been before. At some step in the process you've been tricked, but it's very, very hard to say where the trick is, because what's happening is your brain wants to see all these boxes as units of a single triangle and while the parts simply won't gel, your brain insists on seeing them as a whole. It's YOU who's playing the trick, and you can't un-be you. So you are your own prisoner.
At first, this feels like a neurological trap, like a lie you can't not believe.
But when you think about for a bit, it's the opposite, it's a release. Twenty years later, the mathematician/physicist Roger Penrose (and his dad, psychologist Lionel Penrose) did it again. They hadn't seen Reutersvard's triangle. Theirs was drawn in perspective, which makes it even more challenging. Here's my version of their Penrose Triangle.
Robert Krulwich/NPR
What's cool about this? I'm going to paraphrase science writer John D. Barrow, who has written about these triangles in several places: We know that these drawings can't exist in the physical world. Even as we look at them, particularly when we look at them, we know they are impossible. And yet, we can imagine them anyway. Our brains, it turns out, are not prisoners of the world we live in; we can fly free! We can, any time we like, create the impossible.
These triangles prove it. We don't feel crazy when we look at them, we laugh. We sense we've just stolen something or seen something that can't be out there in the world, and yet, here it is! As John Barrow puts it:
The impossible is not necessarily something that lies outside our mental experience even if it falls outside our physical experience. We can create mental worlds which are quite different from the one we experience.
You find versions of "impossible triangles" in M.C. Escher's drawings, of course, but variants turn up in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland stories, in Jorge Luis Borges, in Breugel, in Magritte. We may be the only creatures on Earth that can break the rules this way. One of the most wonderful thing about the human mind, I think, is it can contradict itself, like this:
Robert Krulwich/NPR
John D. Barrow has written about impossible triangles in his 1999 book Impossibility: The Limits of Science and the Science of Limits. He's also included some in his picture book Cosmic Imagery: Key Images in the History of Science. He's a professor of mathematical sciences and director of the Millennium Mathematics Project at Cambridge University.S. James Gates — Uncovering the Codes for Reality [remix]
http://www.wnyc.org/story/6f6acd90271141bd6865d442/Are we in the matrix? Physicist James Gates reveals why string theory stretches our imaginations about the nature of reality. Also, how failure makes us more complete, and imagination makes us more knowledgeable.
Thu, 06 Jun 2013 07:00:00 -0400http://www.wnyc.org/story/6f6acd90271141bd6865d442/adinkrascreativegatesgodimaginationjamesjimjr.mathematicsmatrixparticlephysicspublic radiorealitys.sciencescience and religionstringsuperstringssupersymmetrysylvestertheorytipetttippetuniverseS. James Gates — Uncovering the Codes for Reality [remix]
51:09Are we in the matrix? Physicist James Gates reveals why string theory stretches our imaginations about the nature of reality. Also, how failure makes us more complete, and imagination makes us more knowledgeable.[Unedited] S. James Gates Jr. and Krista Tippett
http://www.wnyc.org/story/3fe8a96aacf860e00b5de131/Are we in the matrix? Physicist James Gates reveals why string theory stretches our imaginations about the nature of reality. Also, how failure makes us more complete, and imagination makes us more knowledgeable.
Thu, 06 Jun 2013 06:59:00 -0400http://www.wnyc.org/story/3fe8a96aacf860e00b5de131/adinkrascreativegatesgodimaginationjamesjimjr.mathematicsmatrixparticlephysicspublic radiorealitys.sciencescience and religionstringsuperstringssupersymmetrysylvestertheorytipetttippetuniverse[Unedited] S. James Gates Jr. and Krista Tippett
81:16Are we in the matrix? Physicist James Gates reveals why string theory stretches our imaginations about the nature of reality. Also, how failure makes us more complete, and imagination makes us more knowledgeable.Reading LEDs for crowdsourcing kits: Which way and why does it matter?
http://www.wnyc.org/story/287220-which-way-does-not-matter/<p>In February, WNYC set out to design and build <a href="http://project.wnyc.org/cicadas/">Cicada Trackers</a> for the emergence of Brood II that occurs every 17 years. During development of the prototype we ran into a minor hurdle: We wanted our listeners to be able to read the temperature from their sensor, but the <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=15228726"><span>kit we wanted to use</span></a> lacked the 7-segment LEDs needed to present the temperature in a human readable form. Worried that not all Radioshacks stocking the <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=12268262"><span>Arduino Uno</span></a> and <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=15228726"><span>SideKick Basic Kit For Arduino</span></a> would necessarily have <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062557"><span>7 segment LEDs</span></a> we decided instead to use the LEDs that shipped with the Basic Kit.</p>
<p>Our first prototypes were a success; the thermometer was reasonably accurate. The website readily converted a bit pattern into a temperature. Everything worked well until we handed the sensor to somebody outside of our team to try. Their immediate response was "Which way do we read it?"</p>
<p>At the time, the unit’s output was a line of LEDs displaying the thermometer’s value as a binary number. Numbers in this form are not all that different from the decimal numbers we work with every day. We know for example 1,234 is (1 * 1000) + (2 * 100) + (3 * 10) + (4). Binary numbers work much the same way, but i in increments of two instead of ten. 10,011,010,010 is (1 * 1024) + (1 * 128) + (1 * 64) + (1 * 16) + (1 * 2). Like a decimal number, reversing the order of the digits in a binary number changes its meaning. Just as 1,234 and 4,321 are not the same number in decimal, 10,011,010,010 when working in binary.</p>
<p>In our first revision we changed the color of one of the LEDs so our builders knew which end was the beginning. This worked well until we asked people outside of our project to test our instructions. Almost half the time the different colored LED was installed on the wrong side rendering the sensor useless. How nice it would be to be able to answer "It doesn't matter" to the question of the LED’s direction.</p>
<p>With that in mind, I began working on a way to encode a number so we could detect if it was entered backwards. From this effort I developed the <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="https://github.com/wnyc/sensors/blob/master/arduino/temperature/temperature.ino#L100">directional parity algorithm</a><span> used in the </span><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="http://project.wnyc.org/cicadas/">WNYC Cicada Tracker</a>. <span>This algorithm has proved useful for our builders but anyone hoping to use it in their own code would be unable to. In our initial version the </span><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="https://github.com/wnyc/sensors/blob/master/arduino/temperature/temperature.ino#L255">encoder</a><span> is specific to the Arduino, the </span><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="https://github.com/wnyc/sensors/blob/master/javascript/reversible_bits.js#L9">decoder</a><span> is in Javascript and both versions are hard coded to only work with 9 bit values. </span></p>
<p>Yesterday I released a <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="https://github.com/wnyc/directional_parity">general purpose version</a> of of the directional parity algorithm written in Python. It works with numbers of arbitrary size and includes command line versions for shell script users. In the days to come I anticipate adding libraries for other languages as well. Feel free to <a style="text-decoration: none;" href="https://github.com/wnyc/directional_parity">download</a> and let us know what sort of applications you’re using it for.</p>
Thu, 02 May 2013 18:03:48 -0400http://www.wnyc.org/blogs/wnyc-labs/2013/may/02/which-way-does-not-matter/arduinocicada summercicadasmathematicsprogrammingpythonIn February, WNYC set out to design and build Cicada Trackers for the emergence of Brood II that occurs every 17 years. During development of the prototype we ran into a minor hurdle: We wanted our listeners to be able to read the temperature from their sensor, but the kit we wanted to use lacked the 7-segment LEDs needed to present the temperature in a human readable form. Worried that not all Radioshacks stocking the Arduino Uno and SideKick Basic Kit For Arduino would necessarily have 7 segment LEDs we decided instead to use the LEDs that shipped with the Basic Kit.
Our first prototypes were a success; the thermometer was reasonably accurate. The website readily converted a bit pattern into a temperature. Everything worked well until we handed the sensor to somebody outside of our team to try. Their immediate response was "Which way do we read it?"
At the time, the unit’s output was a line of LEDs displaying the thermometer’s value as a binary number. Numbers in this form are not all that different from the decimal numbers we work with every day. We know for example 1,234 is (1 * 1000) + (2 * 100) + (3 * 10) + (4). Binary numbers work much the same way, but i in increments of two instead of ten. 10,011,010,010 is (1 * 1024) + (1 * 128) + (1 * 64) + (1 * 16) + (1 * 2). Like a decimal number, reversing the order of the digits in a binary number changes its meaning. Just as 1,234 and 4,321 are not the same number in decimal, 10,011,010,010 when working in binary.
In our first revision we changed the color of one of the LEDs so our builders knew which end was the beginning. This worked well until we asked people outside of our project to test our instructions. Almost half the time the different colored LED was installed on the wrong side rendering the sensor useless. How nice it would be to be able to answer "It doesn't matter" to the question of the LED’s direction.
With that in mind, I began working on a way to encode a number so we could detect if it was entered backwards. From this effort I developed the directional parity algorithm used in the WNYC Cicada Tracker. This algorithm has proved useful for our builders but anyone hoping to use it in their own code would be unable to. In our initial version the encoder is specific to the Arduino, the decoder is in Javascript and both versions are hard coded to only work with 9 bit values.
Yesterday I released a general purpose version of of the directional parity algorithm written in Python. It works with numbers of arbitrary size and includes command line versions for shell script users. In the days to come I anticipate adding libraries for other languages as well. Feel free to download and let us know what sort of applications you’re using it for.Adam DePrinceOpen Phones: Pi(e) Day!
http://www.wnyc.org/story/275748-open-phones-pi-day/<p>Today is Pi Day, where we celebrate both "<span>π" and "pie."</span> <a class="guestlink" href="/people/r/?n=Glen+Whitney">Glen Whitney</a>, executive director of <a href="http://momath.org/about/">MoMath</a>, discusses the mysteries of 3.14.... Plus, since we are never ones to let a good homonym pass by, we'll also talk about "pie." Do you see an intersection between math and baking? How do you plan to celebrate Pi Day? Call us at 212-433-WNYC, or 212-433-9692, or leave a comment here. </p>
Thu, 14 Mar 2013 11:33:06 -0400http://www.wnyc.org/shows/bl/2013/mar/14/open-phones-pi-day/bakingmathmathematicsopen_phonespieOpen Phones: Pi(e) Day!
11:45Today is Pi Day, where we celebrate both "π" and "pie." Glen Whitney, executive director of MoMath, discusses the mysteries of 3.14.... Plus, since we are never ones to let a good homonym pass by, we'll also talk about "pie." Do you see an intersection between math and baking? How do you plan to celebrate Pi Day? Call us at 212-433-WNYC, or 212-433-9692, or leave a comment here. Six-Year High School Model is a Game Changer
http://www.wnyc.org/story/301933-six-year-high-school-model-is-a-game-changer/<p>The concept of a six-year high school that allows students to take college-level courses is taking off around the country. I recently returned from Boise, Idaho, where the Albertson Foundation is committing $5 million to create a school modeled on the one I oversee in Brooklyn, <a href="http://schoolbook.org/school/3490-pathways-in-technology-early-college-high-school-p-tech">Pathways in Technology Early College High School</a> or P-TECH. The trip clarified for me just how important the six-year high school – college model, what I call hollege, can be, in any place where educators -- and public and private partners -- are willing to try it.</p>
<p>At its core, the motivation to get high school students ready for college-level courses as soon as possible inspired me to try game-changing strategies. I’d like to share one with you.</p>
<p>Conquering math is extremely important for my students because they are pursuing a post secondary credential in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM). The students at P-TECH have the choice to pursue one of two associate degrees in applied science from New York City College of Technology on their journey to being first in line for a job at IBM.</p>
<p>Because our school is unscreened, our 227 students come from across the academic spectrum. Yet both associate degrees require, at a minimum, college level pre-calculus and physics. Our curriculum is designed to prepare every student for college-level calculus by year four.</p>
<p>To get there we had to come up with something new, something that narrowed our focus from the start. We decided to focus the first term on core literacy and math skills. It helped that our 10-period day gave students 80,000 more minutes of instruction than a school that has six and a half hours of instruction. And in that first term, we started with only two math courses, integrated algebra and algebra 2 trigonometry. In the spring, we went from two math options to five.</p>
<p>Students took the English and the Integrated Algebra Regents exams in January. Those who met proficiency standards of 65 or higher moved to the next level of math, and those that did not remained in integrated algebra. The students in algebra 2 trigonometry did not take the Regents until June.</p>
<p>After the results were in, I decided to comb through the data for students who scored a 75 or higher on the English Regents, a 75 or higher on the Integrated Algebra Regents, had a 75 or higher average in math, and an overall average of 80 or higher. The data revealed 22 students. I asked one of my mathematics teacher, Jamilah Siefullah, if she’d be willing to accept the challenge of teaching these students 90 minutes of geometry and 90 minutes of algebra 2 trigonometry; thankfully, she said yes.</p>
<p>I decided to take this action-research a step further and asked the college to allow the students from this group to experience a college course in the summer. That summer 16 students who scored an 80 or higher on the integrated algebra regents enrolled in EMT 1111 Logic and Problem Solving at New York City College of Technology and 15 of them, or 94 percent, passed that college course with a grade of C or higher.</p>
<p>The game-changing strategy was to have students who met the college-ready benchmarks of both English and math to experience a college course in the summer after their 9th grade. Thus, students had early exposure to more rigorous work and their experience would help create a student culture that showed their peers that they too could do the work.</p>
<p>For me, the litmus test is the performance of our Black males who comprise 66 percent of our student population and 52 percent of the legacy class. Ninety eight percent of the Black males in the legacy class were promoted from grade 9 to 10; 63 percent so far have completed a college course.</p>
<p>I credit P-TECH’s early exposure to matched skills from industry, blending of high school and college, and supports with putting 45 percent of our legacy Black males on a path to finishing college-level calculus by the end of the third year, a year ahead of schedule.</p>
Mon, 11 Mar 2013 04:00:57 -0400http://www.wnyc.org/blogs/schoolbook/2013/mar/11/six-year-high-school-model-is-a-game-changer/3490-pathways-in-technology-early-college-high-school-p-techmath_educationmathematicsstemviewpointThe concept of a six-year high school that allows students to take college-level courses is taking off around the country. I recently returned from Boise, Idaho, where the Albertson Foundation is committing $5 million to create a school modeled on the one I oversee in Brooklyn, Pathways in Technology Early College High School or P-TECH. The trip clarified for me just how important the six-year high school – college model, what I call hollege, can be, in any place where educators -- and public and private partners -- are willing to try it.
At its core, the motivation to get high school students ready for college-level courses as soon as possible inspired me to try game-changing strategies. I’d like to share one with you.
Conquering math is extremely important for my students because they are pursuing a post secondary credential in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM). The students at P-TECH have the choice to pursue one of two associate degrees in applied science from New York City College of Technology on their journey to being first in line for a job at IBM.
Because our school is unscreened, our 227 students come from across the academic spectrum. Yet both associate degrees require, at a minimum, college level pre-calculus and physics. Our curriculum is designed to prepare every student for college-level calculus by year four.
To get there we had to come up with something new, something that narrowed our focus from the start. We decided to focus the first term on core literacy and math skills. It helped that our 10-period day gave students 80,000 more minutes of instruction than a school that has six and a half hours of instruction. And in that first term, we started with only two math courses, integrated algebra and algebra 2 trigonometry. In the spring, we went from two math options to five.
Students took the English and the Integrated Algebra Regents exams in January. Those who met proficiency standards of 65 or higher moved to the next level of math, and those that did not remained in integrated algebra. The students in algebra 2 trigonometry did not take the Regents until June.
After the results were in, I decided to comb through the data for students who scored a 75 or higher on the English Regents, a 75 or higher on the Integrated Algebra Regents, had a 75 or higher average in math, and an overall average of 80 or higher. The data revealed 22 students. I asked one of my mathematics teacher, Jamilah Siefullah, if she’d be willing to accept the challenge of teaching these students 90 minutes of geometry and 90 minutes of algebra 2 trigonometry; thankfully, she said yes.
I decided to take this action-research a step further and asked the college to allow the students from this group to experience a college course in the summer. That summer 16 students who scored an 80 or higher on the integrated algebra regents enrolled in EMT 1111 Logic and Problem Solving at New York City College of Technology and 15 of them, or 94 percent, passed that college course with a grade of C or higher.
The game-changing strategy was to have students who met the college-ready benchmarks of both English and math to experience a college course in the summer after their 9th grade. Thus, students had early exposure to more rigorous work and their experience would help create a student culture that showed their peers that they too could do the work.
For me, the litmus test is the performance of our Black males who comprise 66 percent of our student population and 52 percent of the legacy class. Ninety eight percent of the Black males in the legacy class were promoted from grade 9 to 10; 63 percent so far have completed a college course.
I credit P-TECH’s early exposure to matched skills from industry, blending of high school and college, and supports with putting 45 percent of our legacy Black males on a path to finishing college-level calculus by the end of the third year, a year ahead of schedule.Rashid DavisAnxiety Attack: Conquering the Fear of Math
http://www.wnyc.org/story/302882-anxiety-attack-conquering-the-fear-of-math/<p>Last year we met a 7-year-old girl we’ll call Zoey. A shy second grader who excelled at reading, Zoey’s parents and teachers were concerned about Zoey’s poor performance in math and her reluctance to do her math homework. What intrigued us was a passing comment mom made during the intake interview: Zoey frequently complained of stomachaches during school, landing her in the nurse’s office almost daily. The nurse could never find a reason for Zoey’s pains, and after a quick check-up would send a happy Zoey back to class.</p> <p>What the teachers and nurse missed was that Zoey’s pains were getting her out of math class; nobody at the school considered Zoey might be experiencing math anxiety.</p>
<p>Common wisdom is that math anxiety doesn’t affect children before sixth grade. On the contrary, our research demonstrates that children as young as first grade report math anxiety symptoms. Worse, this math anxiety affects their ability to learn math. Sadly, Zoey’s story isn’t unique.</p>
<p>Math anxiety refers to feelings of tension and fear that interfere with solving mathematical problems in everyday life and school settings. Math anxiety involves physiological arousal (e.g., sweaty palms, racing heart), negative thoughts (e.g., “I am just not a math person.”), escape and/or avoidance behaviors (e.g., developing pains to get out of math class), and, when the individual cannot escape the situation, poor performance. Sound like Zoey? Yes, and between 66-90% of Americans, some reports say.</p>
<p>The negative impacts of math anxiety are enormous. Math-anxious students do not see the value of math for everyday life, they participate — and learn — less in math classes, receive lower grades in math, and take fewer math classes in high school and college. These patterns are especially troubling given that mathematical proficiency is becoming increasingly important for full economic opportunity and meaningful participation in society. Consider that only one-third of high school seniors in the U.S. have the mathematical proficiency to compete in a global market and respond to global challenges.</p>
<p>Where are we going wrong?</p>
<p>There are lots of different pathways to math anxiety. A growing body of research suggests that parents and teachers might transmit their own math anxiety to children. At home, comments such as, “I was a terrible math student, it’s in our genes” send the signal that it isn’t important to do well in math. In the classroom, math anxiety has been linked to teachers who are hostile, hold gender biases, are indifferent, or who embarrass students in front of peers.</p>
<p>More important, in our opinion, is the role we collectively play as a society. Let’s face it: it is socially acceptable to say you are bad at math whereas there is a social stigma attached to having poor literacy skills. Kids are consistently bombarded with messages that math is something to fear. T-shirts proudly announce, “Allergic to Algebra” or “I’m too pretty for math.” Even Barbie had something to say about math being tough. This is simply not okay. There is no reason kids should be any more anxious about math than other academic subjects.</p>
<p>So what do we do about math anxiety? First and foremost we have got to stop sending messages to our young children — especially our girls — that math is something to fear. Humans are actually hardwired to think mathematically; we are born with basic building blocks to do math. We need stronger teacher preparation programs that focus on building mathematically competent and confident teachers. We need to provide better supports to our teachers and school leaders to prevent and reduce math anxiety from taking root. We also need to better integrate math into every day routines. Just as we encourage teachers and parents to read with kids, math activities need to become daily habits. Board games, playing cards, and dominoes all have potential for enhancing mathematical thinking.</p>
<p>What do we do about kids who already have math anxiety? Children (and adults!) first need to recognize the signs of math anxiety: the sweaty palms, the racing heart, the negative thoughts. Then, kids need techniques to conquer their anxiety in real-time.</p>
<p>Common strategies include relaxation techniques (e.g., breathing exercises or guided imagery) and positive self-talk (e.g., “I can do math.” “I can take my time and find the correct answer.”)</p>
<p>A special note to teachers: Remember that kids with math anxiety — like all struggling math learners — are going to need lots of reassurance and more time and support than their peers to develop good math habits, skills, and strategies. Be patient! With the right supports and attitudes, we can teach our children to love and excel at math. We all have a role to play in turning math into the one four-letter word children use loudly and proudly.</p>
Thu, 07 Mar 2013 11:44:10 -0500http://www.wnyc.org/blogs/schoolbook/2013/mar/07/anxiety-attack-conquering-the-fear-of-math/educationmath_teachersmathematicsteacher_trainingviewpointLast year we met a 7-year-old girl we’ll call Zoey. A shy second grader who excelled at reading, Zoey’s parents and teachers were concerned about Zoey’s poor performance in math and her reluctance to do her math homework. What intrigued us was a passing comment mom made during the intake interview: Zoey frequently complained of stomachaches during school, landing her in the nurse’s office almost daily. The nurse could never find a reason for Zoey’s pains, and after a quick check-up would send a happy Zoey back to class.Dr. Rose VukovicRachel HarariCan a Math Museum Remedy 'Math Anxiety'?
http://www.thetakeaway.org/story/274234-can-math-museum-remedy-math-anxiety/<p>It may not surprise you to learn that American students dread math. Or that that they feel that dread physically through stomachaches, headaches, fluttering heartbeats and sweaty palms.</p>
<p>Many Takeaway listeners have been sharing their own tales of math-induced terror: Listener Aman writes, "I have failed every single math class I have ever taken. I am humiliated by this fact and it led to years of low self-esteem, but the only thing that kept me going is the fact that I am a bright, intelligent woman who has chosen a career path that will never <em>ever</em> involve math in it."<br><br>Lots of people, it turns, out retain math anxiety through adulthood. But it might surprise you to learn just how young students are when math anxiety kicks in. New research from New York University suggests students start fearing math as early as first grade. <strong>Dr. </strong><strong>Rose Vukovic</strong> is a professor of teaching and learning at NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development where she's studying this problem.</p>
<p>For a little perspective on how to remedy math anxiety, The Takeaway visited the National Museum of Mathematics in Manhattan.</p>
Thu, 07 Mar 2013 00:00:00 -0500http://www.thetakeaway.org/2013/mar/07/can-math-museum-remedy-math-anxiety/educationhealth_and_sciencemathematicsstory_of_the_dayCan a Math Museum Remedy 'Math Anxiety'?
11:42It may not surprise you to learn that American students dread math. Or that that they feel that dread physically through stomachaches, headaches, fluttering heartbeats and sweaty palms.
Many Takeaway listeners have been sharing their own tales of math-induced terror: Listener Aman writes, "I have failed every single math class I have ever taken. I am humiliated by this fact and it led to years of low self-esteem, but the only thing that kept me going is the fact that I am a bright, intelligent woman who has chosen a career path that will never ever involve math in it."Lots of people, it turns, out retain math anxiety through adulthood. But it might surprise you to learn just how young students are when math anxiety kicks in. New research from New York University suggests students start fearing math as early as first grade. Dr. Rose Vukovic is a professor of teaching and learning at NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development where she's studying this problem.
For a little perspective on how to remedy math anxiety, The Takeaway visited the National Museum of Mathematics in Manhattan.Second Stanford Report Finds Gains for NYC Charters
http://www.wnyc.org/story/301830-second-stanford-report-finds-gains-for-nyc-charters/<p>Students in New York City charter schools make larger learning gains, on average, in both reading and mathematics, according to a new report from Stanford University researchers. But the gains are much more pronounced in math.</p>
<p>The <a href="http://credo.stanford.edu/documents/NYC_report_2013_FINAL_20130219.pdf">report</a> by Stanford's Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) looked at nearly 20,000 students' records from 79 schools. It relied on state data for six years of schooling, beginning with the 2005-2006 school year and concluding in 2010-2011, It compared students in grades 3 through 8 who transfer to charter schools to similar students who remained in the regular schools. The authors say they controlled for prior test scores and made sure the comparison group was similar in terms of gender, race, disabilities, family income and English language learner status.</p>
<p>Test scores were compared for students, and for whole schools. On average, charter students gained an additional one month of learning in reading over the course of a school year compared to their counterparts in district schools. Their advantage in math was much stronger: they gained an additional five months of learning over the course of a school year.</p>
<p>At the school level, 22 percent of the charter schools have significantly more positive learning gains than traditional public schools in reading, while 25 percent of charters have significantly lower learning gains. In math, nearly 63 percent of the charter schools studied outperformed their local public schools. About 14 percent perform worse. </p>
<p>Charters that are part of networks tended to score higher than those that are independently managed. The report also looked at Harlem charters, in particular, where the privately managed schools are highly concentrated. </p>
<p>Report authors found: "In reading, charter schools in Harlem have a smaller impact on learning gains than overall or other neighborhoods in New York City. The reverse is true in math; students in Harlem charter schools have larger learning gains than students at charters elsewhere in the city."</p>
<p>The students in Harlem gained about seven months in math compared to less than a full additional month in reading.</p>
<p>When comparing students in poverty, the report found low-income students at charters performed better than their peers who pay the full-price for lunch. But the report did not break down low-income students into those who receive free meals and those whose families make a little more money, and therefore receive a reduced-price lunch. Several critics have noted that charters tend to take fewer of the lowest income students (those getting free lunch) than their local public schools.</p>
<p>The report also found English Language Learners make about the same learning gains in math and reading regardless of whether they attend a charter or a regular public school.</p>
<p>Charter schools often hold more students back a grade than traditional public schools. The report looked into this and saw that students who were retained a grade performed worse than their peers regardless of whether they attended charters or regular schools. But charter students who are retained a grade showed more learning gains than their counterparts at district schools. </p>
<p>This new report is CREDO's second study of charters in New York City; the <a href="http://credo.stanford.edu/reports/CREDO%20NYC%20report%20Press%20Release%20--%20FINAL.pdf">previous one</a>, in 2010, also found learning gains, and it was <a href="http://gothamschools.org/2010/01/05/stanford-study-shows-many-city-charters-besting-district-schools/">widely debated</a> with critics suggesting charters were merely doing a better job at test prep.</p>
<p>The new report acknowledged that overall, charter schools have different populations than those of regular public schools because they tend to have more black students, and fewer white and Asians pupils. They also tend to have fewer children with special needs and fewer students who are still learning English.</p>
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 12:31:11 -0500http://www.wnyc.org/blogs/schoolbook/2013/feb/20/second-stanford-report-finds-gains-for-nyc-charters/charter_schoolseducationharlemmathematicsreadingschool_dataStudents in New York City charter schools make larger learning gains, on average, in both reading and mathematics, according to a new report from Stanford University researchers. But the gains are much more pronounced in math.
The report by Stanford's Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) looked at nearly 20,000 students' records from 79 schools. It relied on state data for six years of schooling, beginning with the 2005-2006 school year and concluding in 2010-2011, It compared students in grades 3 through 8 who transfer to charter schools to similar students who remained in the regular schools. The authors say they controlled for prior test scores and made sure the comparison group was similar in terms of gender, race, disabilities, family income and English language learner status.
Test scores were compared for students, and for whole schools. On average, charter students gained an additional one month of learning in reading over the course of a school year compared to their counterparts in district schools. Their advantage in math was much stronger: they gained an additional five months of learning over the course of a school year.
At the school level, 22 percent of the charter schools have significantly more positive learning gains than traditional public schools in reading, while 25 percent of charters have significantly lower learning gains. In math, nearly 63 percent of the charter schools studied outperformed their local public schools. About 14 percent perform worse.
Charters that are part of networks tended to score higher than those that are independently managed. The report also looked at Harlem charters, in particular, where the privately managed schools are highly concentrated.
Report authors found: "In reading, charter schools in Harlem have a smaller impact on learning gains than overall or other neighborhoods in New York City. The reverse is true in math; students in Harlem charter schools have larger learning gains than students at charters elsewhere in the city."
The students in Harlem gained about seven months in math compared to less than a full additional month in reading.
When comparing students in poverty, the report found low-income students at charters performed better than their peers who pay the full-price for lunch. But the report did not break down low-income students into those who receive free meals and those whose families make a little more money, and therefore receive a reduced-price lunch. Several critics have noted that charters tend to take fewer of the lowest income students (those getting free lunch) than their local public schools.
The report also found English Language Learners make about the same learning gains in math and reading regardless of whether they attend a charter or a regular public school.
Charter schools often hold more students back a grade than traditional public schools. The report looked into this and saw that students who were retained a grade performed worse than their peers regardless of whether they attended charters or regular schools. But charter students who are retained a grade showed more learning gains than their counterparts at district schools.
This new report is CREDO's second study of charters in New York City; the previous one, in 2010, also found learning gains, and it was widely debated with critics suggesting charters were merely doing a better job at test prep.
The new report acknowledged that overall, charter schools have different populations than those of regular public schools because they tend to have more black students, and fewer white and Asians pupils. They also tend to have fewer children with special needs and fewer students who are still learning English.
Beth FertigLove, Betrayal, Calculus: All on the "Math Warriors" Web Series
http://www.wnyc.org/story/301664-love-betrayal-calculus-all-on-the-math-warriors-web-series/<p>"Math Warriors" is a locally produced dramatic web series whose third season launches Monday.</p>
<p>Its creator, Kristina Harris -- she has a Ph.D. in microbial biochemistry and has taught at both New York and Columbia Universities -- thinks of the series as "The Big Bang" meets "The Office," if on a much tighter budget.</p>
<div class="w592 embed_player embed_youtube embed_video"><iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/SVdhNkUbqC8?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><span class="credit"></span> <span class="caption">"Math Warriors" web series</span></div>
<p>There are clashing egos, a conventional Asian nerd and a platinum blonde, furiously scribbled formulas and, of course, a quest to conquer the mathematical universe.</p>
<p>Harris says a growing number of public school teachers have been using the series to de-mystify math for their students. The short length of each episode, she says, makes it a good ice-breaker at the beginning of a class.</p>
<p>"I think often times, people feel discouraged or overwhelmed by math and science, and if we can kind of dispel the myth that it's something that is unattainable or make it somehow more popular or accessible then that's something I'd like to be able to do."</p>
<p>Harris says she especially hopes the series will motivate young girls to pursue math and science careers. The upper echelons of science, she says, are still dominated by men.</p>
<p>"There might be a number of female post-doctoral students or Ph.D. students who are female but the ones who make it to the top tier, there's a lot fewer of them. I hope we can change that over time."</p>
<p>Although she's self-funding the project, and has turned to the website Kickstarter for help, Harris says the actors are all professionals, and members of the Screen Actors Guild. </p>
Mon, 28 Jan 2013 05:00:39 -0500http://www.wnyc.org/blogs/schoolbook/2013/jan/28/love-betrayal-calculus-all-on-the-math-warriors-web-series/math_educationmathematicsstem"Math Warriors" is a locally produced dramatic web series whose third season launches Monday.
Its creator, Kristina Harris -- she has a Ph.D. in microbial biochemistry and has taught at both New York and Columbia Universities -- thinks of the series as "The Big Bang" meets "The Office," if on a much tighter budget.
"Math Warriors" web series
There are clashing egos, a conventional Asian nerd and a platinum blonde, furiously scribbled formulas and, of course, a quest to conquer the mathematical universe.
Harris says a growing number of public school teachers have been using the series to de-mystify math for their students. The short length of each episode, she says, makes it a good ice-breaker at the beginning of a class.
"I think often times, people feel discouraged or overwhelmed by math and science, and if we can kind of dispel the myth that it's something that is unattainable or make it somehow more popular or accessible then that's something I'd like to be able to do."
Harris says she especially hopes the series will motivate young girls to pursue math and science careers. The upper echelons of science, she says, are still dominated by men.
"There might be a number of female post-doctoral students or Ph.D. students who are female but the ones who make it to the top tier, there's a lot fewer of them. I hope we can change that over time."
Although she's self-funding the project, and has turned to the website Kickstarter for help, Harris says the actors are all professionals, and members of the Screen Actors Guild.
Arun VenugopalCompetition Underway for Best Math Apps
http://www.wnyc.org/story/303295-competition-underway-for-middle-school-math-apps/<p>The city wants innovative technology developers to help close the achievement gap for middle school math students. To get the creative juices flowing, the city has launched the "Gap App" contest inviting developers to work with students and teachers to submit ideas for games and programs aimed at boosting student achievement in math. </p>
<p>"Mathematics is the language of the world," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the contest launch at the <a href="http://schoolbook.org/school/630-east-bronx-academy-for-the-future">East Bronx Academy for the Future</a> on Monday. "You might not think of it as a language, but if you don't speak it, you really are at a very big disadvantage."</p>
<p>The Mayor said students in this country continue to fall further behind when it comes to science and math.</p>
<p>"Our future really does have a big cloud that we're approaching and we just have to do something about this."</p>
<p>Developers can begin <a href="http://nycschools.challengepost.com/?preview_token=Tlx2dEzjn1iKJDvvq%2BNx5N44lqUTPJbjMqy%2B4el9sfg%3D">submitting ideas online</a> Monday through April 10, 2013. Winners will be selected in June and are eligible to receive up to $104, 000 including up to $50,000 in cash. Every submission will be considered for a school-based pilot, regardless of whether or not it's selected as a winner. </p>
<p>Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott stressed the contest was about engaging students, "Students nowadays are really interested in technology. I think this is the perfect marriage for that to happen."</p>
<p>The consulting firm IDEO will be working with the city on this program to help identify learning challenges that are happening in the classroom and how can the tech sector help the city tackle those issues. That means spending time in classrooms with teachers and students. IDEO partner Duane Bray said the firm is excited to see what happens as developers start to bring solutions into the schools.</p>
<p>"It's not just an opportunity to drop solutions into the classroom but to bring early prototypes in that can be improved by direct collaboration with students and teachers in the classrooms everyday," Bray said.</p>
Mon, 07 Jan 2013 12:47:35 -0500http://www.wnyc.org/blogs/schoolbook/2013/jan/07/competition-underway-for-middle-school-math-apps/630-east-bronx-academy-for-the-futurecomputer_literacyeducationhigh_techizonemathematicsmiddle_schoolThe city wants innovative technology developers to help close the achievement gap for middle school math students. To get the creative juices flowing, the city has launched the "Gap App" contest inviting developers to work with students and teachers to submit ideas for games and programs aimed at boosting student achievement in math.
"Mathematics is the language of the world," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the contest launch at the East Bronx Academy for the Future on Monday. "You might not think of it as a language, but if you don't speak it, you really are at a very big disadvantage."
The Mayor said students in this country continue to fall further behind when it comes to science and math.
"Our future really does have a big cloud that we're approaching and we just have to do something about this."
Developers can begin submitting ideas online Monday through April 10, 2013. Winners will be selected in June and are eligible to receive up to $104, 000 including up to $50,000 in cash. Every submission will be considered for a school-based pilot, regardless of whether or not it's selected as a winner.
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott stressed the contest was about engaging students, "Students nowadays are really interested in technology. I think this is the perfect marriage for that to happen."
The consulting firm IDEO will be working with the city on this program to help identify learning challenges that are happening in the classroom and how can the tech sector help the city tackle those issues. That means spending time in classrooms with teachers and students. IDEO partner Duane Bray said the firm is excited to see what happens as developers start to bring solutions into the schools.
"It's not just an opportunity to drop solutions into the classroom but to bring early prototypes in that can be improved by direct collaboration with students and teachers in the classrooms everyday," Bray said.
Brigid BerginAll Calculators and No Brains: The Pros and Cons to High School Algebra
http://www.thetakeaway.org/story/226547-all-calculators-and-no-brains-pros-and-cons-high-school-algebra/<p>In his recent editorial for the New York Times, <strong>Andrew Hacker</strong>, professor of political science at Queens College in New York, asks “<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/29/opinion/sunday/is-algebra-necessary.html?pagewanted=all" target="_blank">Is Algebra Necessary?</a>” Hacker says that the millions of high school students and college freshmen taking mandatory mathematics aren’t actually learning much aside from tapping those calculators. He argues that instead, algebra is hindering students who are talented in other fields.<br>"First of all, when it comes to STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), only about 5 percent of all Americans, six million out of 150 million employed Americans, use STEM skills in our jobs," Hacker says. </p>
<p>After sitting in on classes and talking to educators across the country, Hacker says that math class is an unnecessary hoop to jump through on the way to graduation. "What the teachers tell me is that the largest single academic reason why students drop out of high school is algebra," the professor says. "Twenty-five percent of our ninth graders do not make it to graduation. That's a scandal." </p>
<p>"Now what we do need [is] quantitative skills — how to use statistics, how to read statistics," Hacker says. He would like to see students being handed a copy of the recently passed Affordable Care Act instead of a sheet full of quadratic equations. Instead of Algebra II, students would enroll in "Citizen's Statistics" (Hacker admits that it's a working title). </p>
<p>"This is not dumbing down, this is not how to balance your checkbook," he says. "Let's give students a couple hundred pages of print with all sorts of ideas and tables from all sides on what's going to happen with the new health care act, and let them go through it, research it, find out what are the facts, what are the fictions, what do we know, what are we guessing about. That, contrary to dumbing down, will be more difficult [and] more rigorous than geometry." </p>
<p>Typically, the benefits of studying algebra are said to be improved abstract reasoning, logic, and problem solving, but Hacker categorizes those as "myths." </p>
<p>"The people who have a vested interest in keeping algebra going, those who accept the myths and mystiques, will say virtually anything to defend it," Hacker says. "Certainly, I want people to have more quantitative skills, [but] it doesn't require any algebra — in fact, no math above long division and ratios." </p>
Tue, 31 Jul 2012 00:00:00 -0400http://www.thetakeaway.org/2012/jul/31/all-calculators-and-no-brains-pros-and-cons-high-school-algebra/algebraeducationmathematicstechnologyAll Calculators and No Brains: The Pros and Cons to High School Algebra
10:22In his recent editorial for the New York Times, Andrew Hacker, professor of political science at Queens College in New York, asks “Is Algebra Necessary?” Hacker says that the millions of high school students and college freshmen taking mandatory mathematics aren’t actually learning much aside from tapping those calculators. He argues that instead, algebra is hindering students who are talented in other fields."First of all, when it comes to STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), only about 5 percent of all Americans, six million out of 150 million employed Americans, use STEM skills in our jobs," Hacker says.
After sitting in on classes and talking to educators across the country, Hacker says that math class is an unnecessary hoop to jump through on the way to graduation. "What the teachers tell me is that the largest single academic reason why students drop out of high school is algebra," the professor says. "Twenty-five percent of our ninth graders do not make it to graduation. That's a scandal."
"Now what we do need [is] quantitative skills — how to use statistics, how to read statistics," Hacker says. He would like to see students being handed a copy of the recently passed Affordable Care Act instead of a sheet full of quadratic equations. Instead of Algebra II, students would enroll in "Citizen's Statistics" (Hacker admits that it's a working title).
"This is not dumbing down, this is not how to balance your checkbook," he says. "Let's give students a couple hundred pages of print with all sorts of ideas and tables from all sides on what's going to happen with the new health care act, and let them go through it, research it, find out what are the facts, what are the fictions, what do we know, what are we guessing about. That, contrary to dumbing down, will be more difficult [and] more rigorous than geometry."
Typically, the benefits of studying algebra are said to be improved abstract reasoning, logic, and problem solving, but Hacker categorizes those as "myths."
"The people who have a vested interest in keeping algebra going, those who accept the myths and mystiques, will say virtually anything to defend it," Hacker says. "Certainly, I want people to have more quantitative skills, [but] it doesn't require any algebra — in fact, no math above long division and ratios." Janna Levin — Mathematics, Purpose, and Truth [remix]
http://www.wnyc.org/story/9de65e7ff94db753e3b2f997/With physicist Janna Levin, we explore echoes between mathematics and great existential questions -- the nature of truth, free will, and how science informs the meaning of life.
Thu, 31 May 2012 07:00:00 -0400http://www.wnyc.org/story/9de65e7ff94db753e3b2f997/alangodeljannakurtlevinlogicmathmathematicsonbeingphysicspublic radiosciencetippettruthturingJanna Levin — Mathematics, Purpose, and Truth [remix]
With physicist Janna Levin, we explore echoes between mathematics and great existential questions -- the nature of truth, free will, and how science informs the meaning of life.[Unedited] Janna Levin with Krista Tippett
http://www.wnyc.org/story/fd2e3f058897a4f347919577/With physicist Janna Levin, we explore echoes between mathematics and great existential questions -- the nature of truth, free will, and how science informs the meaning of life.
Thu, 31 May 2012 06:59:00 -0400http://www.wnyc.org/story/fd2e3f058897a4f347919577/alangodeljannakurtlevinlogicmathmathematicsonbeingphysicspublic radiosciencetippettruthturing[Unedited] Janna Levin with Krista Tippett
With physicist Janna Levin, we explore echoes between mathematics and great existential questions -- the nature of truth, free will, and how science informs the meaning of life.Racism Is Crippling African-American Advances in Mathematics
http://www.thetakeaway.org/story/199864-racism-cripples-african-american-advances-mathematics/<p>In a <a href="http://takimag.com/article/the_talk_nonblack_version_john_derbyshire/#axzz1rI2sQ2I7" target="_blank">column</a> that quickly got him fired from his post at National Review, John Derbyshire offered some parental advice that he gives his own children when teaching them about the African-American community. This advice, he says, "may save their lives." One point he argues is that the "mean intelligence of blacks is much lower than for whites.” Much has been written about the falsity of his claims and the racist undertones of his overall argument.</p>
<p>But Derbyshire is correct in writing that there are "no black Fields Medal winners." The Fields Medal is much like the Nobel Prize for mathematics, awarded to the best and brightest in the field. <strong>Jonathan Farley</strong> is a professor of mathematics and recipient of the Harvard Foundation's Scientist of the Year medal in 2004. He explains why no African-Americans have yet to receive the prestigious Fields Medal.</p>
Wed, 18 Apr 2012 10:58:17 -0400http://www.thetakeaway.org/2012/apr/18/racism-cripples-african-american-advances-mathematics/african_americanfields_medaljohn_derbyshiremathematicsRacism Is Crippling African-American Advances in Mathematics
7:18In a column that quickly got him fired from his post at National Review, John Derbyshire offered some parental advice that he gives his own children when teaching them about the African-American community. This advice, he says, "may save their lives." One point he argues is that the "mean intelligence of blacks is much lower than for whites.” Much has been written about the falsity of his claims and the racist undertones of his overall argument.
But Derbyshire is correct in writing that there are "no black Fields Medal winners." The Fields Medal is much like the Nobel Prize for mathematics, awarded to the best and brightest in the field. Jonathan Farley is a professor of mathematics and recipient of the Harvard Foundation's Scientist of the Year medal in 2004. He explains why no African-Americans have yet to receive the prestigious Fields Medal.Looking Outside of Schools for Science and Technology
http://www.wnyc.org/story/303012-looking-outside-of-schools-for-science-and-technology/<div class="embed_player wnyc_audio embed_audio w474"><embed src="http://www.wnyc.org/media/audioplayer/red_progress_player_no_pop.swf" width="515" height="29" wmode="transparent" allowscriptaccess="always" quality="high" flashvars="file=http://www.wnyc.org/audio/xspf/182787/&repeat=list&autostart=false&popurl=http://www.wnyc.org/audio/xspf/182787/%3Fdownload%3Dhttp%3A//www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/audio.wnyc.org/bl/bl012412cpod.mp3"></embed><script type="text/javascript">(function(){var s=function(){__flash__removeCallback=function(i,n){if(i)i[n]=null;};window.setTimeout(s,10);};s();})();</script><span class="credit">WNYC</span> <span class="caption">Brian Lehrer Show on STEM education</span></div>
<p>Spurred partly by <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/business/apple-america-and-a-squeezed-middle-class.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=business">the New York Times article </a> about the United States's losing out on iPhone jobs, <a href="http://www.wnyc.org/shows/bl/">Brian Lehrer</a> called on Margaret Honey, president and chief executive officer of the <a href="http://www.nysci.org/home">New York Hall of Science</a>, to tell listeners how to inspire children to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (referred to as STEM).</p>
<p>She said an increasing number of parents are turning to outside organizations to supplement science education in the schools. </p>
<p>One parent called to complain that her children's technology classes focus on computers and typing rather than on hands-on exploration and problem solving. Several other callers recommended specific programs doing great things in science and math. Take a listen and share your thoughts.</p>
Tue, 24 Jan 2012 14:31:16 -0500http://www.wnyc.org/blogs/schoolbook/2012/jan/24/looking-outside-of-schools-for-science-and-technology/educationmathematicssciencestem(function(){var s=function(){__flash__removeCallback=function(i,n){if(i)i[n]=null;};window.setTimeout(s,10);};s();})();WNYC Brian Lehrer Show on STEM education
Spurred partly by the New York Times article about the United States's losing out on iPhone jobs, Brian Lehrer called on Margaret Honey, president and chief executive officer of the New York Hall of Science, to tell listeners how to inspire children to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (referred to as STEM).
She said an increasing number of parents are turning to outside organizations to supplement science education in the schools.
One parent called to complain that her children's technology classes focus on computers and typing rather than on hands-on exploration and problem solving. Several other callers recommended specific programs doing great things in science and math. Take a listen and share your thoughts.
Patricia WillensMario Livio — Who Ordered This? New Mysteries of an Expanding Universe [remix]
http://www.wnyc.org/story/a0052bf9587d55e4f26cff77/Astrophysicist Mario Livio works with science the Hubble Space Telescope makes possible. He is not a religious person. But he's fascinated with the enduring mystery of the very language of science, mathematics.
Thu, 08 Dec 2011 07:00:00 -0500http://www.wnyc.org/story/a0052bf9587d55e4f26cff77/astrophysicsblackcosmosdarkenergyholeshubblejudaismkristaliviomariomathmathematicsonbeingpublic radioromaniastarstippettippettuniverseMario Livio — Who Ordered This? New Mysteries of an Expanding Universe [remix]
51:09Astrophysicist Mario Livio works with science the Hubble Space Telescope makes possible. He is not a religious person. But he's fascinated with the enduring mystery of the very language of science, mathematics.[Unedited] Mario Livio with Krista Tippett
http://www.wnyc.org/story/06f076622ea8fadfcbb505a8/Astrophysicist Mario Livio works with science the Hubble Space Telescope makes possible. He is not a religious person. But he's fascinated with the enduring mystery of the very language of science, mathematics.
Thu, 08 Dec 2011 06:59:00 -0500http://www.wnyc.org/story/06f076622ea8fadfcbb505a8/astrophysicsblackcosmosdarkenergyholeshubblejudaismkristaliviomariomathmathematicsonbeingpublic radioromaniastarstippettippettuniverse[Unedited] Mario Livio with Krista Tippett
91:04Astrophysicist Mario Livio works with science the Hubble Space Telescope makes possible. He is not a religious person. But he's fascinated with the enduring mystery of the very language of science, mathematics.Pass the Science
http://www.radiolab.org/story/119040-pass-science/<p>Richard Holmes went to Cambridge University intending to study the lives of poets. Until a dueling mathematician, and a dinner conversation composed entirely of gestures, changed his mind.</p> <p>In this short, Robert asks Richard how he came to write <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Age-Wonder-Romantic-Generation-Discovery/dp/1400031877/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1" target="_blank"><em>The Age of Wonder</em></a>, a rollicking book full of adventure and discovery about the rise of modern science in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Richard tells us the poignant story of mathematician Évariste Galois--and how dropping his name at the High Table at Cambridge University led to a wordless demonstration of cubic equations by a cutlery-wielding Russian mathematician (who spoke no English). In the end, Richard was so taken with the lengths scientists will go to in order to explain their work (even when they fail), that he decided to give it a go himself. We get that.</p>
Tue, 22 Mar 2011 19:00:00 -0400http://www.radiolab.org/blogs/radiolab-blog/2011/mar/22/pass-science/idea_explorermathematicsshortsPass the Science
Richard Holmes went to Cambridge University intending to study the lives of poets. Until a dueling mathematician, and a dinner conversation composed entirely of gestures, changed his mind.Time After Time: Tom Stoppard's 'Arcadia' Revisits Broadway
http://www.wnyc.org/story/118594-time-after-time-tom-stoppards-arcadia-revisits-broadway/<p>Tom Stoppard’s "Arcadia," which opened Thursday night for a limited run at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, is set in an English country house (Sidley Park) in the early 19<sup>th</sup> century and in the same house in whatever constitutes the present. It is an atmosphere redolent of good breeding, good furniture, old china, pastoral vistas, and candle wax (remember that). So it is easy to miss, at first, the fact that it is as rigorously constructed as one of the mathematical theorems that form its poetic heart.</p> <p>Parallel temporal universes are Stoppardian stock-in-trade, but "Arcadia<em>" </em>abounds in complex dualities of all kinds. In the present, an art historian named Hannah Jarvis is researching the history of the estate’s garden design with a view to tracing the moment when 18th-century classicism gave way to 19<sup>th</sup>-century Romanticism. A rival scholar believes he is on the trail of a career-making discovery about Lord Byron. In opposition to these two characters—obsessed with art, literature, and “personalities”—is the current heir, Valentine Coverly, who is a tortured mathematician attempting to wrest from his family’s 200-year-old game books (records of kills at shooting parties) an algorithm that will reveal a universal mathematical pattern. And that’s only in the present. There is much talk of the release of energy—a principle of physics that also applies to the unexpressed sexual tension among the guests and residents of the house.</p>
<p>Triangulate all of this to 200 years earlier—where a private tutor, Septimus Hodge, balances an untidy love life with his obligation to his teenage pupil, Thomasina Coverly, who is a budding mathematical genius. (This is Stoppard, so note, if you wish, that “hodge-podge” is defined as <em>“</em>a confused or disorderly mass or collection of things” and that there is a sly tugging at history’s skirts: Byron’s daughter Ada is credited, along with Charles Babbage, as being one of the originators of machine language.) </p>
<p>In the background, a maniacally fashionable landscape architect is busy dismantling Sidley Park’s classical garden in favor of the wild, irregular, and “picturesque,” at the same time that Thomasina is intuiting a comprehensive theory of all matter that shows how it must be formally, inevitably, mapped in time and space. With me so far?</p>
<p>Stoppard always lays his <em>meta </em>messages out on the table, where, like Thomasina’s lessons, we are meant to pick them up and make sense of them to complete the play’s circuitry, if you will. So there is a tortoise—and a hare just in case you didn’t get the part about time and relativity—and as the play’s action shifts back and forth between two centuries, we are made to realize that the lives of one set of characters is completed by the lives of the other. </p>
<p>And then there’s “literature and sex,” as the text calls it—inevitable if Bryon is one of your implied characters. But really, there is physics and sex: bodies in motion produce heat, and if it is not released, there is implosion. Septimus cannot act upon his barely acknowledged love for Thomasina, who dies by fire (I told you to remember the candle). And in the present, knowledge—and we and those characters have so much more of it—does not produce happiness either. Arcadias, remember, are re-enactments of Paradise, and we know what happened there. “But,” says Hannah, the play’s most problematic character, “it’s wanting to know that makes us matter.”</p>
<p>I saw the 1995 American premiere of "Arcadia," directed by Trevor Nunn, and some impressions linger and overlap with David Leveaux’s staging for the Barrymore. I remember the Nunn production emphasizing stillness and confrontation, while Leveaux seems to have taken as his ruling trope the idea of energy contained and released. Almost everyone is physically restless in some way—most especially Billy Crudup as the intellectually rapacious scholar Bernard Nightingale. (Crudup played Sepitmus Hodge in the Nunn production.) In the language of physics, he seems to be a neutron that is shy of a center. Lia Williams, as Hannah, also exhibits a perpetual restlessness without clear intention, but then, the role is written that way. We never get a back story, but it is clear that there is a hole in the landscape of Hannah that she is hoping to fill, even if she doesn’t know how, or with what. </p>
<p>To me, Thomasina Coverly and Septimus Hodge are the emotional center of the play—only Stoppard could conceive of a powerful affection based primarily on the love of ideas—and Bel Powley and Tom Riley convey this delicate construct beautifully.</p>
<p>Raul Esparza turns in a strong, sympathetic performance as Valentine, bedeviled by grouse statistics and unrequited love (Hannah) but able to derive a glowing happiness from explaining how math orders the world. (Fans of the television series <em>Numbers</em> will find this familiar.) And Grace Gummer is indeed graceful as the clueless upper-class twit Chloe Coverly.</p>
<p>One of the gentle ironies offered up by "Arcadia" is a reminder that the fashion for vapid women is relatively new. Eighteenth-century women—at least those of the privileged classes—had sharp minds and were encouraged to use them. This is evident in Margaret Colin’s polished performance as Septimus’ other serious love interest, Thomasina’s mother Lady Croom. And her presence in this cast is a pleasing reminder, outside the frame of the play, that if Hollywood is frequently unkind to mature woman actors, the stage is not. Colin had a thriving career in the late 1970s as a pert heroine; for "Arcadia," she has channeled that deft femininity into a nuanced stream of lively discourse and beautifully suggestive body language. </p>
<p>The play’s two worlds, and world views, are elegantly conveyed by Hildegard Bechtler’s set, Donald Holder’s lighting, and David Van Tieghem’s music. </p>
<p>What does "Arcadia" mean? “I’ve always been slightly bewildered by writers who were certain about things,” Stoppard told Ruth Leon in an interview for <em>Playbill</em>. So the play offers only contradictory possibilities, not certainties: all life tends to its end—“you cannot stir backwards”—but clearly, it is the living of it that matters. The play concludes with the perfect image of unresolved infinity—a waltz danced by a pair from each world on the brink of discovering something about themselves before they go. </p>
Fri, 18 Mar 2011 00:00:00 -0400http://www.wnyc.org/articles/features/2011/mar/18/time-after-time-tom-stoppards-arcadia-revisits-broadway/arcadiaart historybroadwaydramasenglish country houselifemathematicsplaystheatertom stoppardTom Stoppard’s "Arcadia," which opened Thursday night for a limited run at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, is set in an English country house (Sidley Park) in the early 19th century and in the same house in whatever constitutes the present. It is an atmosphere redolent of good breeding, good furniture, old china, pastoral vistas, and candle wax (remember that). So it is easy to miss, at first, the fact that it is as rigorously constructed as one of the mathematical theorems that form its poetic heart.Here’s to Benny and the Sets
http://www.thetakeaway.org/story/98514-heres-benny-and-sets/<p>Benoit Mandelbrot died last week. As a mathematician he may have as much impact as any number cruncher since maybe Euclid, who gave us regular old geometry, or Charles Babbage, who laid the groundwork for the modern computer, or folks like Euler and Hilbert and Gauss just famous monster geniuses of numbers. Mandelbrot’s genius was in having the vision to fuse a simple abstract notion about geometry with the power of the computer. Good old Euclid shows us how lines and points and surfaces behave in space and the immutable laws that seem to keep them in a state of perpetual orderliness.<span> </span>Mandelbrot thinks of mathematical objects as having a history. They are the product of millions of calculations that determine their size and space. Shapes, for instance, are histories of repeated computations that together constitute complex surfaces or they replicate complex processes like life itself. Mandelbrot’s fractals are capable of modeling all kinds of complicated phenomena. They are the key to creating simulations with rich computer graphics so essential for everything from video games to movie special effects to weather and planetary scale climate simulators.</p> <p>On my wall as a kid I had a timeline for the history of mathematics. It was published by IBM, whose computers back in the 1960s were just beginning to depict complicated phenomena and didn’t have much in the way of graphics. But Mandelbrot was quietly figuring out ways of turning the computational crank rapidly enough to allow his fractals to take flight and become what we see in the rich graphics of the movie "Avatar" or to simulate the chaos in complex systems like the financial markets. They are beautiful and complex and imprecise but completely mathematical.</p>
<p>The towering achievement of Mandelbrot is the set named for him. The recursive function Z/Z squared plus C repeated endlessly produces a pattern that at first was shocking, then shockingly familiar because it looked like something alive. Not the Mandelbrot set is a symbol of how the computer has changed out view of complexity and chaos. We may still fear it. It may still be elusive if we try to predict its outcomes. But because of Benoit Mandelbrot we can actually see it.</p>
<p>Here’s to Benny and the Sets….. </p>
Mon, 18 Oct 2010 10:05:21 -0400http://www.thetakeaway.org/blogs/takeaway/2010/oct/18/heres-benny-and-sets/benoit mandelbrotmathematicsobituariesBenoit Mandelbrot died last week. As a mathematician he may have as much impact as any number cruncher since maybe Euclid, who gave us regular old geometry, or Charles Babbage, who laid the groundwork for the modern computer, or folks like Euler and Hilbert and Gauss just famous monster geniuses of numbers. Mandelbrot’s genius was in having the vision to fuse a simple abstract notion about geometry with the power of the computer. Good old Euclid shows us how lines and points and surfaces behave in space and the immutable laws that seem to keep them in a state of perpetual orderliness. Mandelbrot thinks of mathematical objects as having a history. They are the product of millions of calculations that determine their size and space. Shapes, for instance, are histories of repeated computations that together constitute complex surfaces or they replicate complex processes like life itself. Mandelbrot’s fractals are capable of modeling all kinds of complicated phenomena. They are the key to creating simulations with rich computer graphics so essential for everything from video games to movie special effects to weather and planetary scale climate simulators.Benoit Mandelbrot Dies at 85
http://www.thetakeaway.org/story/98481-benoit-mandelbrot-dies-85/<p>Maverick mathmatician, Benoit Mandelbrot, died yesterday, at age 85 of pancreatic cancer. Considered the father of fractal geometry, he coined the term "fractal," described the Mandelbrot set, and is arguably the most influential figure inside of mathematics within the last half-century. We'll take a look at his impact, and his legacy.</p>
Mon, 18 Oct 2010 06:41:00 -0400http://www.thetakeaway.org/2010/oct/18/benoit-mandelbrot-dies-85/benoit mandelbrotmathmathematicsBenoit Mandelbrot Dies at 85
3:54Maverick mathmatician, Benoit Mandelbrot, died yesterday, at age 85 of pancreatic cancer. Considered the father of fractal geometry, he coined the term "fractal," described the Mandelbrot set, and is arguably the most influential figure inside of mathematics within the last half-century. We'll take a look at his impact, and his legacy.Passionate Pursuits
http://www.wnyc.org/story/62671-passionate-pursuits/<p>Two stories about passionate pursuits—cerebral and visceral. </p> <p>In Daniel Kehlman’s “The Mathematician”, a young math wizard grapples to understand the world on his own brilliant terms, alternatively dazzling and alienating his mentors along the way. Kehlmann was born in Munich and lives in Vienna. The story is derived from his novel <em>Measuring the World</em>, about the eccentric 19<sup>th</sup>-century mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss, and was translated by Carol Brown Janeway. The reader is the multiple award-winning Broadway actor and television star, B.D. Wong. </p>
<p>The late food writer M.F.K. Fisher, was celebrated for her lavish descriptions of favorite foods and meals, and none can rival this epic memoir of a perfect meal taken at a French country inn, “I Was Really Very Hungry.” Fisher’s other gourmet writings include <em>The Gastronomical Me</em>; <em>Serve It Forth</em>; and <em>How to Cook a Wolf</em>. The reader, at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, was five-time Emmy nominee (“St. Elsewhere”) Christina Pickles, and you can hear her relishing every bite.</p>
<p>“The Mathematician” by Daniel Kehlmann, read by B.D. Wong</p>
<p>“I Was Really Very Hungry” by M.F.K. Fisher, read by Christina Pickles</p>
<p>The musical interlude is Philip Glass’s <em>Einstein on the Beach</em>. The SELECTED SHORTS theme is Roger Kellaway’s “Come to the Meadow.”</p>
<p>For additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS, please visit <a href="http://www.symphonyspace.org/genres/seriesPage.php?seriesId=71&genreId=4" target="_blank">Symphony Space</a></p>
<p>We’re interested in your response to these programs. Please comment on this site or visit <a href="http://www.selectedshorts.org/">www.selectedshorts.org</a></p>
<p>Listener’s choice!</p>
<p>On June 9th, 2010, SELECTED SHORTS at Symphony Space in New York will feature stories selected by our nationwide audience. Go to <a href="http://www.symphonyspace.org/shorts/audience_picks" target="_blank">http://www.symphonyspace.org/shorts/audience_picks</a></p>
<p>to submit your suggestions for a published story you think we should read. Then in the spring, you’ll vote for your favorite from among the final contenders.</p>
Sun, 23 May 2010 10:53:54 -0400http://www.wnyc.org/shows/shorts/2010/may/23/b.d. wongcarl friedrich gaussdaniel kehlmannfoodgourmandsmathematicsprishort storiessymphony space58:59Two stories about passionate pursuits—cerebral and visceral. Are We Coins?
http://www.radiolab.org/story/91911-are-we-coins/<p>After we released our show about <a href="http://www.wnyc.org/2009/jun/15/">Stochasticity</a>, we received a lot of comments about the idea humans can be just as predictable as coins. In that show, Jonah Lehrer was telling us about a study on the 82-83 76ers, and he was saying that even when a basketball player is supposedly hot – really on a streak – he is no more likely to make his next shot that any other time. Basketball players are slaves to their averages. Well, it turns out this isn't the whole story.</p> <p>In fact, right before we released the show, Jad got a call from <a href="http://www.stevenstrogatz.com/">Steve Strogatz</a>, a mathematician from Cornell University.</p>
<p>After talking to Steve, we turn to neuroscientist <a href="http://www.cns.nyu.edu/~glimcher/">Paul Glimcher</a>, as he and Gregory Warner explore whether the little choices we make every day are predictable or not.</p>
Mon, 29 Jun 2009 21:30:57 -0400http://www.radiolab.org/blogs/radiolab-blog/2009/jun/29/are-we-coins/idea_explorermathematicsmind-bendingpodcastsshortsthe_brainAre We Coins?
After we released our show about Stochasticity, we received a lot of comments about the idea humans can be just as predictable as coins. In that show, Jonah Lehrer was telling us about a study on the 82-83 76ers, and he was saying that even when a basketball player is supposedly hot – really on a streak – he is no more likely to make his next shot that any other time. Basketball players are slaves to their averages. Well, it turns out this isn't the whole story.RadiolabA Very Lucky Wind
http://www.radiolab.org/story/91686-a-very-lucky-wind/<p><strong>Laura Buxton</strong>, an English girl just shy of ten years old, didn't realize the strange course her life would take after her red balloon was swept away into the sky. It drifted south over England, bearing a small label that said, "Please send back to Laura Buxton." What happened next is something you just couldn't make up - well, you could, but you'd be accused of being absolutely, completely, appallingly unrealistic. <br><br> On a journey to find out how we should think about Laura's story, and luck and chance more generally, Jad and Robert join <a href="http://www.stat.berkeley.edu/~nolan"></a>Deborah Nolan to perform a simple coin-toss experiment. And <a href="http://www.mccombs.utexas.edu/faculty/jonathan.koehler"></a>Jay Koehler, an expert in the role of probability and statistics in law and business, demystifies some of Jad and Robert's miraculous misconceptions.</p>
Mon, 15 Jun 2009 00:00:00 -0400http://www.radiolab.org/2009/jun/15/a-very-lucky-wind/heart-swellingidea_explorerkidsmathematicsmind-bendingpsychologyspellbindingA Very Lucky Wind
Laura Buxton, an English girl just shy of ten years old, didn't realize the strange course her life would take after her red balloon was swept away into the sky. It drifted south over England, bearing a small label that said, "Please send back to Laura Buxton." What happened next is something you just couldn't make up - well, you could, but you'd be accused of being absolutely, completely, appallingly unrealistic. On a journey to find out how we should think about Laura's story, and luck and chance more generally, Jad and Robert join Deborah Nolan to perform a simple coin-toss experiment. And Jay Koehler, an expert in the role of probability and statistics in law and business, demystifies some of Jad and Robert's miraculous misconceptions.Yellow Fluff and Other Curious Encounters
http://www.radiolab.org/story/91672-yellow-fluff-and-other-curious-encounters/<p>The quest for scientific knowledge is one of the great and noble pursuits of humankind. It's also one of the most dangerous, frustrating, ego-driven, transcendent, dirty, sublime, tedious, demoralizing, inspiring...you get the idea. This hour, stories of love and loss in the name of science.</p>
Mon, 12 Jan 2009 00:00:00 -0500http://www.radiolab.org/2009/jan/12/biologychemistryheart-swellinghistoryidea_explorermathematicsphysicsscienceYellow Fluff and Other Curious Encounters
The quest for scientific knowledge is one of the great and noble pursuits of humankind. It's also one of the most dangerous, frustrating, ego-driven, transcendent, dirty, sublime, tedious, demoralizing, inspiring...you get the idea. This hour, stories of love and loss in the name of science.The Wonder of Youth
http://www.radiolab.org/story/91673-the-wonder-of-youth/<p>At the age of thirteen, mathematician <a href="http://www.tam.cornell.edu/faculty-bio.cfm?NetID=shs7">Steve Strogatz</a> was astonished to find that pendulums and water fountains had a strange relationship that had previously been completely hidden from him. <br><br> And as a young boy, neurologist and author <a href="http://www.oliversacks.com/">Oliver Sacks</a> pored over the pages of the Handbook of Physics and Chemistry, fantasizing about the day that he, like the shy gas Xenon, would some day find a companion with whom to connect and share. And he feels a great gratitude to the "Siberian bigamist" who revealed what matches might be most likely.</p>
<p>Parabolas, a video by Will Hoffman and Derek Paul Boyle:</p>
<p><iframe frameborder="0" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/rdSgqHuI-mw" width="620"></iframe></p>
<p>Read more:</p>
<p>Oliver Sacks, <span class="book"><a title="buy this book at Amazon" target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1400040817/radiolabbooks-20/"><em>Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain</em></a></span></p>
<p>Steven Strogatz, <span class="book"><a title="buy this book at Amazon" target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0786868449/radiolabbooks-20/"><em>Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order</em></a></span></p>
Mon, 12 Jan 2009 00:00:00 -0500http://www.radiolab.org/2009/jan/12/the-wonder-of-youth/chemistryhistoryidea_explorermathematicsmind-bendingscienceAt the age of thirteen, mathematician Steve Strogatz was astonished to find that pendulums and water fountains had a strange relationship that had previously been completely hidden from him. And as a young boy, neurologist and author Oliver Sacks pored over the pages of the Handbook of Physics and Chemistry, fantasizing about the day that he, like the shy gas Xenon, would some day find a companion with whom to connect and share. And he feels a great gratitude to the "Siberian bigamist" who revealed what matches might be most likely.
Parabolas, a video by Will Hoffman and Derek Paul Boyle:
Read more:
Oliver Sacks, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain
Steven Strogatz, Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous OrderNancarrow's Player Piano
http://www.studio360.org/story/114909-nancarrows-player-piano/<p><span> In the 1940s and '50s, American composer Conlan Nancarrow used an old-fashioned tool to create music no human could have played or heard before. To write his compositions, Nancarrow used mind-bending mathematical formulas to cut extremely complex rolls for the player piano. Produced by Sarah Lilley </span></p>
Sat, 25 Sep 2004 00:00:00 -0400http://www.studio360.org/2004/sep/25/nancarrows-player-piano/composerlifemathematicsmusicpianoNancarrow's Player Piano
7:09 In the 1940s and '50s, American composer Conlan Nancarrow used an old-fashioned tool to create music no human could have played or heard before. To write his compositions, Nancarrow used mind-bending mathematical formulas to cut extremely complex rolls for the player piano. Produced by Sarah Lilley FeatureDanica McKellar on Art and Math
http://www.studio360.org/story/162168-danica-mckellar-on-art-and-math/<p>Kurt Andersen and Danica McKellar look at math’s attraction for artists — its precision, complexity and purity. McKellar is an actor and writer, and graduated <em><em>summa cum laude</em> </em>from UCLA with a degree in mathematics. She's best known for her role as Winnie Cooper on <em>The Wonder Years</em>, and she recently wrote and starred in a short film called <em>Teaching Me</em>.</p>
Sat, 13 Apr 2002 00:00:00 -0400http://www.studio360.org/2002/apr/13/danica-mckellar-on-art-and-math/artlifemathematicsmovies_and_tvsci_and_techDanica McKellar on Art and Math
6:41Kurt Andersen and Danica McKellar look at math’s attraction for artists — its precision, complexity and purity. McKellar is an actor and writer, and graduated summa cum laude from UCLA with a degree in mathematics. She's best known for her role as Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years, and she recently wrote and starred in a short film called Teaching Me.Cover StoryMath and the Movies
http://www.studio360.org/story/162173-math-and-the-movies/<p>When people in Hollywood talk about movie math, they generally mean the elaborate and often fraudulent accounting. It's what turns a $100 million dollar box office take into a loss. But there's a lot of math <em>in</em> the movies, well beyond <em>A Beautiful Mind</em>. </p>
Sat, 13 Apr 2002 00:00:00 -0400http://www.studio360.org/2002/apr/13/math-and-the-movies/lifemathematicsmovies_and_tvsci_and_techMath and the Movies
5:56When people in Hollywood talk about movie math, they generally mean the elaborate and often fraudulent accounting. It's what turns a $100 million dollar box office take into a loss. But there's a lot of math in the movies, well beyond A Beautiful Mind. FeatureStreet Math
http://www.studio360.org/story/162176-street-math/<p>Every Wednesday at noon in Times Square, New York City, educator George Nobl sets up a table. He lays out different math problems that need to be tackled and a row of Snickers bars for anybody who gets them right. </p>
Sat, 13 Apr 2002 00:00:00 -0400http://www.studio360.org/2002/apr/13/street-math/lifemathematicsnew_york_cityperformancesci_and_techStreet Math
3:30Every Wednesday at noon in Times Square, New York City, educator George Nobl sets up a table. He lays out different math problems that need to be tackled and a row of Snickers bars for anybody who gets them right. Feature