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… Continue reading Uniqueness of Factorization

## 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… Continue reading Typesetting synthetic division

## How to Give a Good Math Talk

There are a lot of sites with useful advice out there. This post is intended to collect several links for future reference. Technically Speaking – Videos of math research students presenting their findings. I love the examples of bad style along with good style. This comes out of an NSF-funded project. Joe Gallian’s Advice on… Continue reading How to Give a Good Math Talk

## 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… Continue reading A brief 4,000 year history of Diophantine Equations

## Kevin’s Books

One of the great friends that I made in my time at Vanderbilt University was Kevin Blount. Kevin knew all the graduate students and professors, and often hosted dinners and movies at his nearby apartment. Kevin ended up writing his Ph.D. dissertation On the Structure of Residuated Lattices with Constantine Tsinakis, and moved on to… Continue reading Kevin’s Books

## AP Classes Are a Scam

I heard about the following Atlantic article from @stevenstrogatz : October 13th, AP Classes Are a Scam which I found quite interesting. I thought much the same in those years when I taught a lot of freshman Calculus. My main observations were that Most students who had taken AP Calculus in High School had to… Continue reading AP Classes Are a Scam

## 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… Continue reading Math Formula Poetry Slam

## Singing and Dancing Mathematics

Long Division Style Recently, a Gangnam Style-inspired 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… Continue reading Singing and Dancing Mathematics

## Math Conference photos

Going through some old papers, I found the following conference photos from Fall 1996 Fields Institute, Algebraic Model Theory Program July 1-10, 1998, XI Simposio Latinoamericano Lógica Matemática, Mérida, Venezuela 1998 Szeged Conference on Lattices and Universal Algebra

## Found Math

I sent this photo in to the MAA Found Math series, and it was published! This looks very much like a geometric dissection proof of the Theorem of Pythagoras, but in the form of a discarded foldable card table.