Category: Mathematics

From Pop Songs to the White House — Fun With Mathematical Constants

In the world of science and mathematics, there are certain numbers, functions, and equations of such importance that they have earned distinctive titles. “Avagadro’s Number,” “Planck Constant,” “Pi,” and “Faraday Constant” are […]

When FDR Couldn’t Make Sense of His Tax Return

If you have ever wanted to pull your hair out in frustration over the complexity of trying to figure out your income taxes, you are not alone.

The 300-Page Proof that One Plus One Equals Two

With all of life’s complexities, it’s nice to know that some things are so obvious that anyone can recognize them. When the world is falling to pieces everywhere you look, you can […]

Measuring By the Meter, Foot, and Smoot

If you are accustomed to the metric system, imperial units can be perplexing. There is logic in the fact that there are 1,000 meters in a kilometer or ten centimeters in a […]

How to Lie With Statistics

You may have heard someone say that there are three types of falsehoods: lies, darn lies, and statistics. Despite the imputation, statistics can be very compelling. Adding a statistic to your argument […]

How to Write 100,000,000,000,000 Poems

A sonnet is a one-stanza, 14-line poem, written in iambic pentameter. William Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, all of which are required reading for students of great literature. Shakespeare may be the most […]

Why Would You Want a Book of a Million Random Numbers?

Are you looking for a good book for this weekend? Let us tell you about one that will really hold your attention. It’s a little hard to describe the overall plot, but […]

Pleasing Pendulum Poetic Limerick

Thanks to Lesser Mutterings for pointing us to this wonderful science-based limerick. The primary equation that describes how a pendulum works is: T is the period of time it takes for a […]

A Limerick for Mathematicians

For those of us who have yet to memorize our multiplication tables, the concept of someone doing math for fun is as paradoxical as putting pineapple on pizza. Even so, Leigh Mercer […]

Happy #PiDay

How Do Barcodes Work?

If you were born before 1970 or so, you undoubtedly remember that the responsibilities of the clerk at a grocery store were different than they are today. Back in the murky past, […]

Popeye Got His Super Strength from Spinach Because of a Math Error

“I’m strong to the finish ‘cuz I eat my spinach.” With those words, Popeye the Sailor inspired generations of kids to suppress their gag reflex and eat all the spinach on their […]

What Is the Most You Can Win in Jeopardy?

Let’s assume you are a person of unmatched intelligence. You know every detail of all the obscure realms of human knowledge. On top of that, you have reflexes that are second to […]

The Epic Prank that Became History’s Greatest Practical Joke

Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446) was an accomplished architect, designer, sculptor, and mathematician. He is considered to be one of the founding fathers of Renaissance architecture and holds the distinction of being the first […]

Sweden’s Scale Model of the Solar System Spans the Whole Country

As young students, we all got our first introduction to the solar system through pictures that showed the planets orbiting the sun. Those pictures frequently showed equal distance between the planets and […]