Math

Father Song Team Solves Geometry Problem With Infinite Folds

In geometry, polyhedra (three-dimensional shapes made of polygons) have been at the centre of a mathematical problem. Until recently, mathematicians didn’t have proof of how to fold polyhedra without shrinking, squashing, or stretching it. Now, a group of researchers have presented proof that shows how to fold polyhedra flat using infinite folds. They started at a point far from the vertices (the intersection of two planes) and flattened it, then looked for another, repeating it infinitely with smaller folds as they got closer to a vertex. Read full article here

Learning Math? Think Like A Cartoonist

Math is best understood through a cartoonist’s mind. By reducing a mathematical concept down to its simplest idea, like how a cartoonist reduces faces down to their most striking features, we get a stronger foundation to understand it better. For example, although multiplication often makes number smaller (when you multiply by a number less than one), it’s better to simplify multiplication by saying it makes numbers larger. It’s because multiplication often makes numbers larger in practice as most people use numbers greater than one when multiplying. Read full article here

On Calculating A “Mathematically Correct Breakfast”

“Mathematically Correct Breakfast” is a short YouTube video showing a man cutting a bagel into two interlocking rings, presumably to get more surface area for cream cheese. Through some careful math, it’s revealed that it does give you more bagel to spread your cream cheese on. Assuming that your bagel is perfectly round, you can get more spreadable surface — up to 17.4% more — by cutting your bagel along a two-twist Möbius strip like the man does in the video. Read full article here

An Odd Card Trick

An integration of maths and magic, the magic separate card trick requires no sleight of hand. This trick ends with the performer having the same number of face-up cards as the spectator. It works because there is only a fixed number of face-up cards in the deck. By subtracting the number of face-ups in the performer’s hand from the total number of face-ups in the deck before it was split, the performer knows how many cards to flip to match the number of face-ups in the participant’s hand. Read full article here

The Hidden Mathematical Patterns Behind Seemingly Random Events

In the 1990s, Harold Widom and Craig Tracy discovered that many seemingly random events, like crystal formation and bacterial growth in a petri dish, were not entirely random after all. The sets of numbers in the matrices of these random events, or eigenvalues, all showed a similar pattern. Dubbed the Tracy-Widom distribution after its discoverers, the pattern resembles the change in the largest eigenvalue of random events, making them rather predictable. “It turns out that complex systems consisting of interacting random events actually behave in statistically predictable ways.” Read full article here

Wine & Math: A Model Pairing

Lars Verspohl proposes a method for determining wine quality that incorporates a mathematical model that records the pattern of physiochemical property composition in connection to wine ratings. These characteristics, which include alcohol, acidity, and sugar content, can make or break the wine’s flavour. 1600 bottles were utilised to determine the association of attributes to quality in order to classify high-quality wine from low-quality wine. And according to the model, quality wine has higher alcohol content, less volatile acidity, and a higher sulphate level. Read full article here

Math as ‘One of the Great Humanities’

Before World War II, Americans had no particular love nor respect for mathematics because mathematicians weren’t focused on “practical” endeavours. But instead of asserting its usefulness in science like his peers, Cassius Jackson Keyser went the opposite direction. He argued that mathematics was a humanist pursuit, integral to the development of civilisation in man. For Keyser, mathematics instilled civilised ideals within people and should be pursued to better oneself and our society. Read full article here

The Secret Math of Hot Dogs and Buns

An amusing dive into the perennial problem of ill-matching hotdog and bun quantities, visualising the math behind the Chinese remainder theorem in a practical light. Aside from using this theorem (detailed in the article) to figure out how many packs of buns and dogs you should buy for your next barbecue (relatively primitive mathematics), the same theorem is applied to a cryptographic setting: “you can use the theorem to keep a number secret until a group of people agree to collaborate to identify it.” Read full article here

Some People Think 2+2=5

Does 2+2 ever equal 5? Kareem Carr says yes, because numbers don’t always perfectly align with their real world scenarios. It’s all in the parameters, or how you look at it; real-life examples include how, in regards to reproduction, one plus one can equal three — three being a family unit – or, indeed, can equal one – one being just the offspring. Alternatively, how about how 2.3 rounds down to two, but 2.3 + 2.3 rounds up to five? Read full article here

How To Calculate The Trappiest Openings In Chess

A chess trap is a tactic where you bait the opponent into playing a move that makes them likely to lose when countered. There are many trap openings in the game, but David Foster figured out that the Stafford Gambit is the most effective chess trap of all. The Stafford Gambit has a trap score of 43.8%, which Foster calculated by multiplying the probability of the opponent following the sequence of moves in the trap and the win percentage of the trap in real games. Read full article here

FASCINATING READS, SUMMARISED

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