Just quickly, here’s something I saw on MetaFilter and enjoyed. The Simons Foundation has a “Science Lives” series of “extended interviews with some of the giants of twentieth century mathematics and science”.
This one is with Robert MacPherson, who invented instersection homology with Mark Goresky. I’d never heard of him and topology gives me the heebie-jeebs, but I’ve spent a very happy morning reading the fascinating biography and listening to the interview. The interviewer is Robert L. Bryant, also a research mathematician, so the questions don’t stray away from difficult topics. MacPherson comes across as an all-round excellent guy; I really recommend playing through all the clips when you have some time.
Samuel Hansen is a busy man. As well as finishing off Relatively Prime, he’s continually making up new ideas for podcasts. His latest effort is ACMEScience NEWS NOW, a series of video interviews with the people behind scientific and mathematical research stories in the news.
We didn’t post about episode 1, with Paul Hines talking about crowdsourcing, due to it coming out in that weird bit of the Summer where all three of us fell asleep for a few weeks. But last night Sam posted episode 2 — an interview with Sally Dodson-Robinson about modelling planet formation — so here it is:
You may remember Math52, a Kickstarter project from Mathalicious which reached its goal in June. This promised, “every week for a year we’ll create a short video exploring a unique application of math in everyday life”. Now the Mathalicious video series has launched with two videos, both less than two minutes in length, available via YouTube.
The first video, Tip Jar, explores tipping in restaurants.
When we go out to eat at a restaurant, it’s customary to tip as a percent of the total bill. But is this fair? And what are some other ways we might pay waiters & waitresses?
The videos are snappy and nicely produced. The Mathalicious website offers free lesson plans and materials to support the video in the classroom.
A few days ago, my friend David asked me if I could help him with a card trick. I said I could, hence this post. I managed to pin David down in front of my camera long enough for him to demonstrate the trick; a full explanation follows this video:
Having discovered this wonderful design for a paper Enigma machine, which uses a standard size crisp tube and does a pretty good job of encoding things like an Enigma machine, I decided it was worth trying it out. What better opportunity to use something which can encode secret messages than to send messages between two monthly Maths Jam events via the medium of Twitter? The public sending of the messages would be incomprehensible to anyone not willing to get their hands dirty with a crisp tube and scissors. Unless they’ve got an actual Enigma machine.
Anyone who hasn’t yet spotted the YouTube channel Numberphile (call yourself a maths fan?) would do well to check out its amazing selection of videos, all loosely themed around numbers – not all of which are integers, either – but now edging on giving up on that pretence and just continuing to post videos about interesting bits of maths.