Math Digests September 2021

How Math Solved the Case of the Volcanic Bombs That Didn’t Explode The New York Times, September 11, 2021 You probably don’t want to get up close to an erupting volcano to study the magma “bombs” that it shoots out. Luckily, the power of mathematics allowed researchers to discover why some volcanic bombs fall to…

Math Digests August 2021

New mathematical record: what’s the point of calculating pi? The Guardian, August 17, 2021 Pi is something more than just a number. Pi has infinitely many digits after its decimal point and no observable pattern. It’s a classic example of so-called “transcendental numbers,” which can’t be calculated from any combination of ratios, powers, and roots…

Math Digests July 2021

Emmy Noether faced sexism and Nazism – 100 years later her contributions to ring theory still influence modern math The Conversation, July 15, 2021 Emmy Noether is one of the most famous female mathematicians of the twentieth century. In a celebration of the 100th anniversary of some of her greatest work, Tamar Lichter Blanks recounts the…

Math Digests June 2021

Is This Some Kind of Code? You Can Solve the … The New York Times, June 25, 2021 What would a font based on Tetris look like? What about a Sudoku font, or a juggling font? Erik and Martin Demaine, a computer scientist and an artist, have designed a multitude of “algorithmic puzzle fonts,” mathematically…

Math Digests May 2021

Instagram post misleads on vaccine efficacy by conflating two different measures Politifact, May 28, 2021 Measuring the efficacy of a COVID-19 vaccine involves several different—and potentially confusing—statistics. When we say that the Pfizer vaccine is 95% effective, we’re talking about relative risk reduction. A recent Instagram post with thousands of likes conflated the concepts of…

Math Digests April 2021

Trachette Jackson Fights Cancer with Math Quanta Magazine, April 12, 2021 When Trachette Jackson was a student, mathematics and biology remained largely separate disciplines. Now, she is a pioneer in mathematical biology, with two decades of experience in using math to improve cancer treatments. In this podcast interview with host Steven Strogatz, Jackson discusses how…