Squaring the Circle: Mathematicians Have Finally Solved the Ancient Math Problem of Turning a Circle into a Square (and Back)To this day, scientists are still figuring out whether it is possible to square a circle. The original question was by Anaxagoras of Clazomenae in 450 BC, who tried to square the circle using only classical tools, namely a straight edge and a compass, while in prison.In 1882, German mathematician Ferdinand von Lindemann proved that squaring the circle was impossible using only classical tools. Despite this, the question of squaring the circle remained a topic of interest for mathematicians.Recently, three mathematicians posted a paper online. Their study showed how to square the circle (and back) by cutting the circle into about 10^200 pieces (yes, that many). Another group of researchers also did the same thing back in 2016, but the shapes from this new paper are said to be "simpler in shape and much easier for mathematicians to visualize."Oleg Pikhurko, one of the study authors, says that he already has ideas to simplify and reduce the number of pieces needed to square the circle to less than 20 pieces.(Image Credit: Quanta Magazine)#Mathematics #SquaringTheCircle #Geometry #GraphTheory
A Violent Hit to the Head in a Robbery Gone Wrong Turned a Futon Salesman into a Math GeniusJason Padgett's life only revolved around partying, drinking, and chasing girls. At that time, Padgett thought math was stupid. For him, it is not applicable in the real world. But everything changed on a Friday night, on September 13, 2002. That night, Padgett was robbed and beaten up by two men outside a karaoke bar, which resulted in a concussion and a bleeding kidney. Padgett's concussion, however, was not just a concussion. It was a sustained brain injury, which caused him to have OCD. But something else happened within Padgett: he saw things differently. He saw things in shapes, lines, and curves. He saw things mathematically.It is hypothesized that Padgett has synaesthesia.Learn more about Padgett's life over at BBC.(Image Credit: Jason Padgett)#Mathematics #Synaesthesia
Do Not Erase: Images of Mathematicians' Chalkboards by Jessica WynneThe works of photographer Jessica Wynne are currently in the Edwynn Houk Gallery in New York. The exhibition, called Do Not Erase, includes images of mathematicians’ chalkboards full of formulas.The photographs, at first glance, can be mistaken for the actual chalkboards themselves, provide a glimpse of how an academic mind works in the middle of brainstorming and discovery. According to the gallery’s press release, “Wynne’s blackboards illuminate the power of the whirling web of shapes, numbers, and calculations scribbled in the heat of discovery.” Through the artist’s lens, the complex calculations and mathematical concepts displayed on these boards in the form of scribbles, scrawls, or rough writing are linked to the timeless lineage of artistry and writing: cave paintings, hieroglyphics, and graffiti.Image credit: Jessica Wynne/Edwynn Houk Gallery#Photography #JessicaWynne #EdwynnHoukGallery #Blackboards #Mathematics
Is This Ancient Numerical Notation?The ancient origin of numbers is a subject not much explored by scientists. Evolutionary biologist Russell Gray remarks that the subject is “still a relatively vacant niche in scientific research.” But in 2018, Francesco d’Errico, an archaeologist at the University of Bordeaux, France, published a paper in which he hypothesizes that numerical notation may have began as early as 60,000 years ago, at the time of the Neanderthals. His idea was based on this hyena bone that has nine approximately parallel notches. His paper might have sparked interest among the scientific world. Today, scientists look for answers about the origin of numbers from different perspectives.Cognitive scientists, anthropologists and psychologists are looking at contemporary cultures to understand differences among existing number systems — defined as the symbols that a society uses for counting and manipulating numbers. Their hope is that clues buried in modern systems might illuminate details of their origins. Meanwhile, archaeologists have begun looking for evidence of ancient numerical notations, and evolutionary biologists with an interest in language are exploring the deep origins of number words. These studies have spurred researchers to formulate some of the first detailed hypotheses for the prehistoric development of number systems.​Learn more about this intriguing study over at Nature.(Image Credit: F. d’Errico via Nature)#Neanderthal #Archaeology #Mathematics #OriginOfNumbers #Anthropology #CognitiveScience #EvolutionaryBiology​
Doing Calculus IS a Superpower!In the X-Men comics, Professor X named his school the "Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters" but didn't exactly specify what kind of unique "gifts" he's talking about.Obviously, different X-men characters have different powers: Cyclops can shoot laser beams from his eyes. Wolverine has amazing healing powers. And Beast has ... well, he's blue and can do calculus!This Pudinawala Comics panel made us chuckle and then nod in complete agreement because doing calculus is a superpower!#math #mathematics #calculus #PudinawalaComics #XMen #superpower #comicsvia Geeks Are Sexy​
Ancient Clay Tablet Showed that Applied Geometry was Used in Babylon 1,000 Years Before PythagorasAn ancient clay tablet that's been hiding in plain sight in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum in Turkey for over a century turned out to be the oldest example of applied geometry.The 3,700-year-old tablet known as Si.427 dated from the Old Babylonian period. "It’s the only known example of a cadastral document from the OB period, which is a plan used by surveyors to define land boundaries," said Daniel Mansfield of University of New South Wales in Australia. "In this case, it tells us legal and geometric details about a field that’s split after some of it was sold off," he added.The tablet uses number sets known as Pythagorean triplesto make accurate  right angles, but it was made 1,000 years before the Greek philosopher Pythagoras developed the geometric principles now known as the Pythagorean theorem.Image: University of New South Wales#math #mathematics #Babylon #claytablet #appliedgeometry #geometry #PythagoreanTriples #PythagoreanTheorem #landsurveyor