Math Gets Around in the Big City

Math has gotten a bit of a visibility boost recently, in the form of posts by professor Steven Strogatz at the New York Times blog. For three weeks, starting at the end of May, Professor Strogatz filled in for usual blogger Olivia Judson, and during that time he used the platform to write some highly readable musings that show the presence of mathematics in unlikely places, and touch on some of the directions math is headed in the 21st century.

Let me highlight the first post, titled “Math and the City.” Professor Strogatz begins this article by describing Zipf’s law, an observation attributed to linguist George Zipf regarding the distribution of words in a language (for a linguistic motivation, you can check the Wikipedia article on Zipf’s law).

One of these things is not like the other.

In the context of cities, the law states the following: in a given . . . → Read More: Math Gets Around in the Big City

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The Cheapest Salad Bar in the World

Last week, I went to a number theory conference in Utah. The conference was very good, and I learned quite a lot, which I suppose is the goal of any such conference. The location of the conference itself was also quite nice – it was close to the mountains, a lake, and the home of Blendtec, famous for their “Will it Blend” series of videos.

As you might expect, most of what I learned on this conference pertained to number theory. However, there were lessons outside of this sphere of knowledge as well. The one lesson I will share with you is best encapsulated in this picture:

That’s right – Ghiradelli now makes salad.

It was my friend Jack who pointed out the placement of the decimal point. Apparently the people who work in cafeterias in Utah are the same people who work at Verizon call centers. If you ever . . . → Read More: The Cheapest Salad Bar in the World

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