Why Prime Numbers Still Fascinate Mathematicians, 2,300 Years Later

Primes still have the power to surprise. Chris-LiveLoveClick/shutterstock.com Prime numbers are the biggest and oldest data set in mathematics. Why have they captivated mathematicians for millennia? By Dr. Martin H. Weissman / 04.02.2018 Associate Professor of Mathematics University of California, Santa Cruz On March 20, American-Canadian mathematician Robert Langlands received the Abel Prize, celebrating lifetime achievement in mathematics. Langlands’ research demonstrated[…]

Srinivasa Ramanujan: The Man Who Taught Infinity

Srinivasa Ramanujan (middle) with fellow scientists at Cambridge. Wikimedia The unlikely friendship that allowed an untrained Indian mathematician to become an acclaimed academic. By Dr. Béla Bollobás / 04.22.2016 Professor of Pure Mathematics University of Cambridge Throughout the history of mathematics, there has been no one remotely like Srinivasa Ramanujan. There is no doubt that he was a[…]

Mesa Verde: Ancestral Puebloan Homes in Cliffs

By Dr. Lauren Kilroy-Ewbank / 08.09.2015 Assistant Professor of Art History Pepperdine University Wanted: stunning view Cliff dwellings, Ancestral Puebloan, 450–1300 C.E., sandstone, Mesa Verde National Park, (photo: Steven Zucker, CC: BY-NC-SA 2.0) Imagine living in a home built into the side of a cliff. The Ancestral Puebloan peoples (formerly known as the Anasazi) did just that in some of[…]

The Easter Island Moai

View of the northeast of the exterior slopes of the quarry, with several moai (human figure carving) on the slopes; a young South American man with a horse is standing in the foreground for scale, Easter Island, photograph, 8.2 x 8.2 cm © Trustees of the British Museum By The British Museum / 03.01.2017 The moai of Rapa[…]

The Gods Behind the Days of the Week

The Roman weekday ‘dies Veneris’ was named after the planet Venus, which in turn took its name from Venus, goddess of love. Detail from Venus and Mars, Botticelli, tempera on panel (c1483). / Wikimedia Commons The origins of our days of the week lie with the Romans. Three are named for planets, the other four gods. By Dr. Margaret Clunies Ross / 01.01.2018 Emeritus Professor of English Language and[…]

Where Do the Names of Our Months Come From?

Detail from the Roman-era Sousse Mosaic Calendar, El Jem, Tunisia. Ad Meskens / Wikimedia Commons Our lives run on Roman time. By Dr. Caillan Davenport / 01.10.2018 Senior Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History and ARC DECRA Senior Research Fellow The University of Queensland Our lives run on Roman time. Birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and public holidays are regulated[…]