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[…]

On His 250th birthday, Joseph Fourier’s Math Still Matters

Fourier’s name is inscribed on the Eiffel Tower. / Creative Commons    By Dr. Richard Gunderman (left) and David Gunderman (right) / 03.20.2018 R. Gunderman: Chancellor’s Professor of Medicine, Liberal Arts, and Philanthropy, Indiana University D. Gunderman: PhD Student in Applied Mathematics, University of Colorado March 21 marks the 250th birthday of one of the[…]

Unsung Female Mathematicians: Celebrating Marion Walter

Searching for role models in the math world. ImageFlow/shutterstock.com By Dr. Jennifer Ruef / 03.12.2018 Assistant Professor of Education Studies University of Oregon When I was teaching mathematics in the 90s, before the internet, I had a book of “women mathematicians.” This was helpful for sharing inspirational stories with my middle school students, but there were[…]

Can Math Predict What You’ll Do Next?

Big data makes it a bit easier to guess your next move. blackboard1965/shutterstock.com    By Dr. Daniel J. Denis and Briana Young / 12.15.2017 Denis: Associate Professor of Quantitative Psychology Young: PhD Candidate in Experimental Program The University of Montana Good scientists are not only able to uncover patterns in the things they study, but to[…]

Escher and Coxeter – A Mathematical Conversation

Figure 1: Hand with Reflecting Sphere, M. C. Escher (1935) Lecture by Dr. Sarah Hart at the Museum of London / 06.05.2017 Professor of Mathematics Birkbeck, University of London Introduction In 1954 the artist Maurits Escher met the mathematician Donald Coxeter at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Amsterdam. This meeting sparked a lifelong correspondence[…]

Maryam Mirzakhani was a Role Model for More than Just Her Mathematics

Maryam Mirzakhani, YouTube Screen Capture By Mehrdokht Poumader / 07.17.2017 Lecturer in Operations Management and Organizational Behavior Macquarie Graduate School of Management On July 14, Maryam Mirzakhani, Stanford professor of mathematics and the only female winner of the prestigious Fields Medal in Mathematics, died at the age of 40. In just a few hours, her[…]

Did Artists Lead the Way in Mathematics?

Is there a geometry lesson hidden in ‘The Last Supper’? Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Henry Adams / 04.27.2017 Ruth Coulter Heede Professor of Art History Case Western Reserve University Mathematics and art are generally viewed as very different disciplines – one devoted to abstract thought, the other to feeling. But sometimes the parallels between the[…]

With New Technology, Mathematicians Turn Numbers into Art

Mathematical visualization techniques led the author to create this virtual scene, showing shapes from the realm of mathematics bursting into the physical world. Frank Farris, CC BY By Dr. Frank A. Farris / 04.04.2017 Associate Professor of Mathematics Santa Clara University Once upon a time, mathematicians imagined their job was to discover new mathematics and[…]