CTK Insights

Archive for July, 2012

24 Jul

Sphereland: The movie

At the space Portal where all spaces and universes cross, Hex observes a ship carrying a parallel Her and her Grandfather and wonders what it was those did differently over there that did not cause A. Square's heart to break.

22 Jul

It Fills All Space

Who is it that fills the space? The space itself, of course - whatever that space is. ... Only a 0-dimensional space - "the Abyss of No dimensions," in the words of Abbott - has enough room for a single individual. It's this fellow who fills its space in Flatland and keeps broadcasting the news

21 Jul

Roman, decimal and sexagesimal

The three problems have been posed to Leonardo by Johannes of Palermo at the request of the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick II. Leonardo sent a copy of the solutions to Frederick; whether he intended the book for a broader audience I do not know. If he did, we may conclude that the sexagesimal system was in use beyond the educated court of Frederick, but evidently the court mathematicians and Frederick himself have not fully internalized the decimal system. That this was indeed so. There is no record in which system the calculations were carried out, just the answer which was written as a sexagesimal number.

20 Jul

A Collection of Matchsticks Puzzles

The book contains a variety of puzzles, some simple, others more complicated, none boring. A few have frustrated my efforts to solve them, while the supplied solution showed nonconformist ways in which the Grabarchuk family's cumulative brain works

14 Jul

The Irrationals

Tweet The jacket of the new book by Julian Havil that I received for review presents to my eye a - perhaps irrational - eyesore. The and the are entirely in my view out of place. One should not of course judge the book by its jacket, and from my experience with other Havil's books […]

12 Jul

Mathematics and Calculations

I posed the problem to my (future) 9th grader son whose math teacher I am not happy with. It seems to me that what he does is mostly memorizing formulas and putting in numbers to get numeric results. But the boy proved to still have his wits about him. Without batting an eyelid he gave his answer: "It's simple. It is faster to start moving right away. There is no advantage in losing any time at the outset."

10 Jul

Another Coincidence

TweetJust yesterday night I finished rereading Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead. Today unexpectedly I got a review copy of Alexander Hahn's Mathematical Excursions to the World's Great Buildings. With The Fountainhead, I wanted to make sure that the book is appropriate for my 13 year old boy. I think it is, and I'll recommend it to […]

10 Jul

103 Comes After 102

I got an impression that on receiving my explanation she immediately purchased the book. I saw that she punched the keys on her tablet and then got engrossed into what she got on it. I may have been wrong about that, but there was no doubt my boy was happy to while away half an hour with Grabarchuk's book.

07 Jul

It Takes a Mathematician to Appreciate Architecture

The Dean wondered why he had promised the professor of mathematics to do all he could for this boy. Merely because the professor had said: "This," and pointed to Roark's project, "is a great man." A great man, thought the Dean, or a criminal. The Dean winced. He did not approve of either.

05 Jul

A Funny Lapse in a Wonderful Book

In order for the last sentence to follow the suggested convention it had to be written as "If there are no rectangles in the tiling ...". To accept the sentence as is, the convention had to be "From this point on, we shall refer to a rectangular tile as simply a rectangle." I hope I am not being disgustingly pedantic, but some times this does happen.

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