Falling in the rabbit hole with a bunch of objects
Applied Math

Math in Literature: Depicting the Collapse of Certainty

October 13, 2019

Ever since Isaac Newton’s discoveries, mathematics had been viewed as an absolute bedrock on which we could construct a completely firm structure of understanding. New findings in the early 20th century, though, shattered this bedrock. Just as literature reveals much about collective cultural anxieties, so the depiction of math in literature, particularly Alice in Wonderland and Flatland, illuminates the resulting chaos as our fundamental understanding of reality was called into question. […]

Detail from Raphael's school of Athens
Applied Math

Rationalism in Mathematics Enters Shaky Ground

October 11, 2019

During the Enlightenment, the world was viewed as an orderly place in which everything operated in accordance with precise mathematical principles. Beginning with the Romantic backlash, however, and unfolding into the early 20th century, both rationalism in mathematics and the concept of absolute truth were called into question. Discover how the quest to improve Euclid’s system of geometric propositions further disrupted the philosophy of rationalism. […]

Rear view of a thoughtful woman who tries to solve math problems. Math calculations on black chalk board
Applied Math

Are There Absolute Truths in Mathematics?

October 10, 2019

Are there absolute truths when it comes to mathematical rules and principles? Some rules appear so obvious as to be beyond question. Encounter mind-boggling examples, however, which demonstrate that even the seemingly irrefutable principles of arithmetic are not all absolute truths. […]

image of multiplication table
Applied Math

A Cool New Way to Grasp Basic Multiplication

June 28, 2017

In this lecture from The Power of Mathematical Visualization, professor James Tanton teaches intriguing new ways to perform basic multiplication — methods that teach you to visualize numbers in a whole new light. […]

Game and probability theory concept
Applied Math

Our Random World—Probability Defined

April 17, 2017

While it’s nice to think that our challenge in life is to get rid of uncertainty and be in complete control of everything, that is not going to happen. One of life’s real challenges is to deal with the uncertain and the unknown in some sort of an effective way; and that is the realm of probability. […]

Applied Math

Can You Trust Polling Results?

March 27, 2017

Polling can be an effective mechanism to predict the outcome of a vote, but in order to obtain valid results you have to be careful about how you construct your sample audience. […]

The Pi symbol mathematical constant irrational number on circle, greek letter, background (Image: Fernando Batista/Shutterstock)
Math

Pi: The Most Important Number in the Universe?

March 14, 2017

One of the most famous numbers in human history, as well as one of the most important numbers in our universe, is the number Pi. Just how well do you know its mathematical applications and historical impact? […]

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