The Month in Math: March

Interested in the highlights from the historical world of mathematics for the month of March?  How about the answers to these questions?

  • My favorite mathematician is born this month.  Who is he?  Here’s a hint – “my brain is open.”
  • March 17 celebrates the anniversary of one of the most lopsided business deals in all of mathematical history.  Who did it involve?  What was the deal?

Click here to find the answers to these questions and more:  March

Looking for a different month?  Click here for all 12 months.

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The Month in Math: February

Interested in the highlights from the historical world of mathematics for the month of February?  How about the answers to these questions?

  • In 1650, which famous mathematician catches a cold while tutoring the Queen of Sweden?  (He dies 10 days later.)
  •  What strange coincidence occurs at the moment of Gauss‘ death?

Click here to find the answers to these questions and more:  February

Looking for a different month?  Click here for all 12 months.

The Month in Math: January

Interested in the highlights from the historical world of mathematics for the month of January?  How about the answers to these questions?

  • What famous mathematician was born on January 23?
  •  In January 1697, Newton receives what famous problem from  Johann Bernoulli, designed to challenged Newton’s new creation – calculus?

Click here to find the answers to these questions and more:  January

Looking for a different month?  Click here for all 12 months.

Mathematical Poetry Month?

It is a relatively well-known fact that, in the United States, the month of April is National Poetry Month.  What is far less-known (unfortunately) is that April is also Mathematics Awareness Month.  Intending to capitalize on the overlapping celebrations, science writer Stephen Ornes proposes that April should become Mathematical Poetry Month.  His compelling argument can be read here:  April Should Be Mathematical Poetry Month.

Should we start a petition????

Why don’t people appreciate math?

“It saddens me that educated people don’t even know that my subject exists.” – Paul Halmos

Why is it that so many people have no idea what mathematics is really about?  Why is it that the general public views math as boring and ugly?  Because most people view mathematicians as human calculators, computing gigantic multiplication problems in their heads.  While, in some rare cases, this is certainly true, I have learned from some brilliant mathematicians who couldn’t even master their times tables.

What the general public doesn’t realize is that mathematics is so much more than computation.   It is about discovering patterns and relationships between ideas.  In many cases, there is something beautiful when a mathematical idea makes a clever connection between two concepts, especially when it is unexpected.

Recently, in an OP-ED piece in the New York Times, Manil Suri attempts to explain what mathematics is about and why it is something to appreciate, much in the same way one appreciates art or music.  As he puts it in his piece,  “you can appreciate art without acquiring the ability to paint, or enjoy a symphony without being able to read music.  Math also deserves to be enjoyed for its own sake, without being constantly subjected to the question, ‘When will I use this?'”

Click here to read his article titled “How to Fall in Love with Math.”  You will not be disappointed.