Category: Just For Fun

Driving with Cats
I’ve surprised myself this week with many skills that I didn’t know that I (still) had. Students have left campus (some are weathering it out there), and I’m social distancing at home with my family. I’ve quickly set up home offices, even taped ethernet cable between floors to strengthen our bandwidth, and offered advice on…

1988 IMO Problem 6
I found about this legendary problem from a Numberphile video and was intrigued. Go watch the video, even if you have seen the problem before. It’s fun! Here’s the problem which is can be found on The Official IMO page. 1988 IMO #6. Let $a$ and $b$ be positive integers such that $ab + 1$…

Uniqueness of Factorization
A few days ago I came across a proof of the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic (aka Unique Factorization) in Courant and Robbin’s What is Mathematics that I hadn’t seen it before. I liked it enough to learn it. Then another surprise – I saw it again yesterday in Primes and Programming by Peter Giblin, a book…

Typesetting synthetic division
I’m teaching an Algebra course that highlights the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra. So of course we’re looking closely at polynomial division, and in particular at synthetic division. My students are preparing their homework assignments using LaTeX, so this begs the question about how to typeset their computations. One of my students found the LaTeX package…

A brief 4,000 year history of Diophantine Equations
I filled in for a NY Math Circle class over the weekend. Since the topic was Primitive Pythagorean Triples, I had a blast. I also shared the following outline with the students. Each item is full of wonderful mathematics and anecdotes! Plimpton 322, a Babylonian cuneiform tablet @ Columbia University. From 1900BCE – 1600BCE, and…

Math Formula Poetry Slam
Last December, I got to meet Daniel, aka Jarabe Del Sól, a poet from the Readnex Poetry Squad. He showed me in his notebook where he had written all sorts of arcane symbols and characters, perhaps from undiscovered alphabets. I got to fill up a few pages of his notebook with math symbolism off the…

Singing and Dancing Mathematics
Long Division Style Recently, a Gangnam Styleinspired video came out of I.S. 285 Meyer Levin in Brooklyn. In this video, students sing and dance the procedure for long division. It’s absolutely delightful. The Quadratic Formula Song Music versions of math formulas and procedures are not new. One that came up recently in the Algebra class…

Math Conference photos
Going through some old papers, I found the following conference photos from Fall 1996 Fields Institute, Algebraic Model Theory Program July 110, 1998, XI Simposio Latinoamericano Lógica Matemática, Mérida, Venezuela 1998 Szeged Conference on Lattices and Universal Algebra

An Interesting Prime Number Fact, Rubik’s Cube and the Gömböc
In the summer of 2010 I traveled to Hungary for the 25th anniversary reunion of the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics program, and had the pleasure of seeing the inauguration of another study abroad program for computer science, the Aquincum Institute of Technology. The interesting part of the ceremony was a series of mathematics talks to…

Project Euler
My friend Aaron just pointed me to this site, but I think I’d seen it before, in a lesspolished state. Project Euler (http://projecteuler.net/) This page has a sequence of 360 challenging math and computing problems. If you sign up for an account, you can track your progress in solving the problems. The problems are not trivial…