UnRisk 7

Stanford Professor Maryam Mirzakhani: First Woman to Win the "Nobel Prize" of Mathematics

 

For the first time in history, a woman has received the highest honor in mathematics, often nicknamed the Nobel Prize of mathematics.

Since it was established in 1936, the Fields Medal had gone only to men, until Wednesday, when Maryam Mirzakhani received it in Seoul, South Korea, from the International Mathematical Union.

"This is a great honor. I will be happy if it encourages young female scientists and mathematicians," Mirzakhani said, according to a statement from Stanford University, where she is a professor.

Please read more here.

Wall Street Journal: Companies Struggle to Find Workers in U.S. Who Can Do Basic Math

 

Bringing Jobs Back to U.S. Is Bruising Task

By TIMOTHY AEPPEL

 

Stanley Furniture factory is in the process of shutting down and shedding workers. 

Some small and midsize companies that brought manufacturing back to the U.S. in recent years have found it a bumpy road.

Shortages of skilled workers are a common problem, as are difficulties navigating complex regulatory systems that govern modern American manufacturing.

But there are other challenges as well.

Crib maker Stanley Furniture Co. STLY +2.61% misjudged the willingness of Americans to pay more for domestically produced goods when cheaper imports are available, for example. Meanwhile, the husband-and-wife entrepreneurs who founded 20-year-old Chesapeake Bay Candle have struggled to find workers who can do basic math.

Please read more here and here.

Sailing

 

Two reminders of this song in one day - while jogging on the sand in Miami Beach and reading a friend's facebook post.  It also reminds me of my first year as a grad student at Harvard. Back then I was studying Applied Math/Geophysical Fluid Dynamics because my thesis advisor would only work with students who essentially had 3 concentrations - math theory, numerical analysis and a real world application.

So, my advisor had this brilliant idea of having me spend a summer on a Woodshole Oceanographic research vessel. After a few months in the middle of the Atlantic ocean - collecting water samples and temperature data - I decided I was not cut out to be an oceanographer. So when I returned to Harvard for the fall semester of my second year in grad school I decided to switch to Applied Math/Energy.

Jason Padgett: The Brain Injury That Made Me A Math Genius

 

If you could see the world through my eyes, you would know how perfect it is, how much order runs through it, and how much structure is hidden in its tiniest parts. We’re so often victims of things—I see the violence too, the disease, the poverty stretching far and wide—but the universe itself and everything we can touch and all that we are is made of the most beautiful geometric patterns imaginable. I know because they’re right in front of me. Because of a traumatic brain injury, the result of a brutal physical attack, I’ve been able to see these patterns for over a decade. This change in my perception was really a change in my brain function, the result of the injury and the extraordinary and mostly positive way my brain healed. All of a sudden, the patterns were just . . . there, and I realize now that my injury was a rare gift. I’m lucky to have survived, but for me, the real miracle—what really saved me—was being introduced to and almost overwhelmed by the mathematical grace of the universe.

* * *

There’s a park in my town of Tacoma, Washington, that I like to walk through in the mornings before work. I see the trees that line its path as anyone would, the branches and the bark, but I see a geometrical blueprint laid on top of them too. I see triangular patterns emerging from the leaves, reminding me of the Pythagorean theorem, as if it’s unfolding in the air, proving to me over and over again what the ancient Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras deduced thousands of years ago: the sum of the squares of the legs of a right triangle (a triangle in which one angle is a right angle, or 90 degrees) equals the square of its hypotenuse. I don’t need a calculator to know that the simple formula most of us learned in school—a2 + b2 = c2—is true; I can see it instantly in the trees all around me. To me, a tree is more than its geometry, but geometry is also far more than most people realize. I think it’s everything.

I remember reading that Galileo Galilei, the Italian astronomer, mathematician, and physicist (and one of my heroes), said that we cannot understand the universe until we have learned its language. Speaking of the universe, he said, “It is written in the language of mathematics, and its characters are triangles, circles, and other geometric figures, without which it is humanly impossible to understand a single word of it.”

This rings true for me. I see this hidden language of the world before my eyes.

Please read more here.

17 Mathematical Equations that Changed the World!

In my really geeky days, I used to wear a t-shirt with Maxwell's equations on the front side. LOL!

Please read more here.

Bloomberg: "House of Math" Penthouse in NYC

 

Architect David Hotson gives Bloomberg Pursuits magazine a tour of the House of Math apartment. 

 

To help Hotson along, his mathematically minded client sent him his dissertation, about an algorithm capable of discerning the structure underpinning complex sequences of symbols: a Bach partita, a human genome, a sonnet.

It turns out that if you feed in enough data, a computer can deduce the principles of counterpoint, heredity and Elizabethan verse. Hotson similarly used raw computing power  and a 3-D laser scan of the unfinished space  to render a design that previous generations could hardly have visualized, let alone built.

The best part of the house, by far, sounds like the 4-story stainless steel slide that lets riders out near the dining room table. It was installed in two separate pieces, before there were walls or floors.

Please read more here and here

Kid Calls Police (911) for Math Help!

Thanks for Your Vote to Help Phat Math Qualify for a Chase Grant

Fun Teaching Moments: Musical Instruments for Kids

Several of my friends laughed when I told them I bought musical instruments for my youngest nephews - ages 2, 5, and 6.

I bought them a tambourine, maracas, bongos and a xylophone. We are going to start a kiddie band this Christmas. BTW, I bought ear plugs for their parents! LOL!

After some thought, one of my friends emailed: "Musical instruments, you gave me an idea... those kids have everything these days.. it's so hard to find something original to buy for them."

I replied: "You can't go wrong with musical instruments. I ordered inexpensive kids' versions via amazon.com. You can teach lots of things with music - math (fractions, counting, etc.), discipline, fun, team work, etc. I know this from personal experience - having played musical instruments since 5th grade."

If you can't afford to buy the musical instruments, you can try making some - a bongo for example. You can make your own. There are instructions on the internet.

Happy holidays!

Miss USA 2011: Should Math Be Taught In Schools? (video)

I am assuming this is a joke. Right?

Otherwise, America is in big trouble!

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