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Martin Gardner and the Three Way Duel

As you may have heard, last week Martin Gardner celebrated his 95th birthday. Gardner, who authored the “Mathematical Games” column in Scientific American for a quarter of a century, is often credited for introducing generations of young students to the beauty and charm inherent in mathematics. My favorite quote in this vein comes from professor Ron Graham, who is quoted in a recent New York Times article on Gardner as saying that “Martin has turned thousands of children into mathematicians, and thousands of mathematicians into children.” A warm brain is the key to mathematical dexterity.

Both Scientific American and Wired ran articles on Gardner last week, and each one used a different expression to represent his age. Scientific American congratulated him on reaching an age of 25 x 3 – 1, while Wired proclaimed that Gardner had turned 5! – 25. Upon reflection I think I prefer the latter expression . . . → Read More: Martin Gardner and the Three Way Duel

Math Goes Trick Or Treating Again

UPDATE: 2010 costume ideas can be found here! Around this time last year, I wrote up some suggestions for math-themed Halloween costumes. Based on the traffic I received from that article, I can tell that many people are desperate to integrate their holiday festivities with mathematics. For this reason, and in the interest of not breaking tradition, I thought it would be fitting to suggest a few more ideas for this year. 1) Mathemagician. 

In the strictest sense, a mathemagician is simply a mathematician who does magic. Or, perhaps it is a magician who does mathematics. You may (rightfully) be tempted to say that every mathematician does magic, but the tricks of the mathemagician are geared more towards a general audience, although they do often feature mathematics in a starring role. Sadly, the same cannot always be said for the typical magician.

There are examples of mathemagicians in real life, . . . → Read More: Math Goes Trick Or Treating Again

More on Football Pools

Update: Part 3 of this series of posts can now be found here. This post is a follow-up to an earlier post that looked at betting squares for football scores. In particular, we analyzed the distribution of the second digit of final football scores, and compared that to the digital root of final football scores (recall that the digital root of a number is found by iteratively calculating the sum of the digits in that number until you come up with a single digit number from 1 through 9). We found that on average, the final digits of football scores do not distribute themselves evenly – a score ending in 2 or 5 is much rarer than a score ending in 7 or 0, for example. However, the analysis of the digital root suggested that digital roots may become evenly distributed on average. We now turn to a related question . . . → Read More: More on Football Pools