## I love “pseudo” math!

What is “pseudo” math, you ask?  It’s what I like to call the kind of math you see in movies, magazine advertisements and on TV – the kind that looks like it is somehow important but, in reality, is nothing more than random mathematical symbols on the screen or page.  For instance, take a look  at John Berman’s report (ABC News) looking at the math behind the numbers of the GOP race for the Republican Presidential nomination – Close Up This Week.

I love the algebra, the formulas, the symbols, his use of the terms calculus, algebra, and theorem.  It is, of course, meaningless but that doesn’t matter to me.  Just the fact that he has used these words is enough to excite me.  Any time the media or Hollywood celebrates math and gets it out into the public is a victory in my book!

Thanks, John!

## Top earning college majors

Recently, Time Magazine took the time to analyze 171 college majors to determine which majors earn the most and least amounts of money.  Below is the list of the 10 highest and 10 lowest earning majors.  And – what a shock –  the highest earning majors all involve a great deal of mathematics!

### Lowest-Earning Majors

Anyone who loves math knows how rare it is for mainstream society to be exposed to mathematics of any kind.  However, yesterday, Google exposed tens of millions of people to one of the most famous mathematicians of all time, Pierre Fermat.  To honor his 4o1st birthday on August 17, Google created the Doodle seen above.  What is the Doodle about?  Well, written on the chalkboard is what is known as Fermat’s Last Theorem.  Simply put, the theorem states that the equation  has no integer solutions for n>2 and x,y,z ≠ 0.

However, what has become more famous than the actual theorem is the mystery Fermat left behind.  The theorem, discovered after his death and written in the margin of his copy of Arithmetica, included the note  “I have discovered a truly marvelous demonstration of this proposition that this margin is too narrow to contain.”

For the next three centuries, legendary mathematicians tried hopelessly to recreate the proof that Fermat claimed he had discovered.  Finally, in 1993, the mathematician Andrew Wiles (with a little help from others to fill in some gaps) found a proof.  Beyond putting the mystery to rest, Wiles put to rest the idea that Fermat ever had a legitimate proof of the theorem as the mathematics he used had only been developed in the 20th century.

So, if Fermat never left a proof, then why call it a theorem?  Any high school geometry student will tell you that a theorem requires a proof.  It all has to do with the fame of the person making the claim.  Fermat was about as famous as any mathematician could be and was, therefore, given the benefit of the doubt.  Unfortunately, for us mere mortals it would have been called a conjecture and, more importantly, lost to the sands of time.

## ABC News and John Allen Paulos team-up

ABC News and Temple University mathematics professor John Allen Paulos (author of many books including his most famous, Innumeracy)  have teamed-up to bring you a mathematician’s insight into the world of news.

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/WhosCounting/

The articles on this site analyze the mathematical angles of current news events.  What’s nice about the articles presented is that they are entertaining, informative and written at a level that allows anyone to understand them.  Take some time to read and enjoy!

## The best job in the U.S.?

According to the Wall Street Journal, the number one job in the United States is that of a mathematician.  In fact, math related jobs hold the top 3 spots as the #2 job is an Actuary and the #3 job is a Statistician. Looking at the top 10 jobs, most require a large amount of mathematics:

1) mathematician

2) actuary

3) statistician

4) biologist

5) software engineer

6) computer systems analyst

10) accountant

Maybe all those math teachers are right when they tell their students how important it is to have a good mathematics education!