CTK Insights

Archive for September, 2010

27 Sep

The Famous 15 Puzzle

TweetSam Loyd's Fifteen is a famous conundrum from the end of the 19th century. As the recent investigation by Jerry Slocum and Dic Sonneveld has revealed, attributing the puzzle to Sam Loyd is justified only partially. Repeated claims to the contrary notwithstanding, Sam Loyd has not invented the puzzle. He is certainly responsible for creating […]

25 Sep

Classification of Triangles

TweetHere is a curious diagram I cam across in H. Jacobs' Geometry. (Jacobs, in turn, credits a 1901 publication.) The diagram that presents all possible kinds of triangles could serve as a great poster. As you can see, all possible triangle classes do appear there. The diagram is curious in that its dimensions (up to […]

21 Sep

Fraction Comparison

TweetTwo fractions a/b and c/d are equal (or often equivalent) only if ad = bc. The same cross-multiplication helps compare two fractions. For simplicity I shall assume all integers positive. Thus, a/b > c/d if and only if ad > bc. This is a simple and, for small numbers, not an overly difficult test. However, […]

16 Sep

Areas in Square II

TweetOnce in a while an NCTM publication stuns me. They just published solutions to the July 15 problem of finding proportions between areas in a square: One solution is absolutely beautiful.                                             The solution […]

13 Sep

McDougal Littell Algebra 1: First Impression

TweetI am a proud parent: my 11 years old son takes a 7th grade Algebra 1 Honors class. Judging by the homework assignments and my kid's notes, the 6th grade math teacher was rather inept in the subject matter. The topics came one after another with no indication of any relationship between any two. To […]

13 Sep

Adulterated Arithmetic

TweetHamas PLC Speaker Ahmad Bahr gave a speech broadcast by Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas/Gaza) on September 5, 2010. Here is the mathematical part: It is said that Omar [Ibn Al-Khattab] wished to become a martyr. It is said that one day, Omar addressed the people: 'In the Garden of Eden, there is a palace – hear […]

05 Sep

2010 Fields Prize Winners

TweetThe list of the 2010 Fields Prize Winners is now available on the web. There are two articles, The laudations and The work profile, that introduce each of the winners and throw light on their mathematics. The laudations is an extensive math biography, the work profile is a popular rendition of the winner's achievement. This […]

03 Sep

Squares in Triangles

TweetHere is a simple problem I found in a recent book from MAA (C. Alsina, R. B. Nelsen, Charming Proofs, p. 89.) Geometric constructions of a square inscribed in a triangle are well known. There are two ways to inscribe a square into a right isosceles triangle: Which square has the larger area? The problem […]

02 Sep

An Application of Fermat's Last Theorem

TweetTheorem For any greater than is irrational. The following proof has been submitted by Richard Ehrenborg, University of North Carolina, Charlotte and published in the American Mathematical Monthly (May 2003, 423) with a remark that the proof was found by William Henry Schultz, at the time an undergraduate at UNC-Charlotte. The proof has been reproduced […]

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