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Math + Halloween, Part 4

It’s that time of year again. If you are looking for some math-themed costume ideas, then look no further. Though it gets harder to keep this tradition with each passing year, here are a few ideas is you’re looking to rock that mathematical look at whatever event you are planning to attend during this frightful Halloween season. Ideas from previous years can be found here, here, and here.

Without further ado, let’s begin!

1. Tony Stark

Yes, yes, I know – since Iron Man hit the screens in the summer of 2008, the titular character has become a popular costume idea, joining the ranks of comic book icons like Superman and Spiderman. I’m not talking about dressing up as Iron Man, though. Instead, I am recommending a costume based on the man inside the suit – Tony Stark, playboy billionaire and (more importantly) mathematical w√ľnderkind. All you really need is . . . → Read More: Math + Halloween, Part 4

A Mathematics Community

Whether knowingly or not, NBC Thursday night comedies have made occasional dalliances with mathematics. For example, you can see here for a mathematical discussion inspired by The Office, and here for one inspired by Parks and Recreation.

Today I would like to add to this esteemed list the show Community, now in its third season on NBC’s Thursday block. As the title indicates, the show centers around a group of friends who are students at the fictional Greendale Community College (how this formula will pan out if the show lasts more than four seasons is uncertain).

In a recent episode (titled Competitive Ecology), the gang divides themselves up into pairs of lab partners for Biology class, but they quickly discover their pairings are less than ideal – especially since, with an odd number in the central crew, one member must pair up with someone who is not in their clique. . . . → Read More: A Mathematics Community

Playoff Probabilities

Continuing with last week’s theme, and since we are in the midst of playoffs, I’d like to take a moment now to discuss another link between baseball and mathematics. This link is particularly timely since the scuttlebutt on the internet suggests that next year the playoff rules for baseball will be changed: the number of teams competing for the World Series will increase from 8 to 10, and because of that, another round of playoff games will be introduced.

Currently, the playoffs consist of three rounds. The first round is the Division Series, in which eight teams compete in a best-of-five match-up (equivalently, a first-to-three match-up, i.e. the first team to win three games wins the series). The second and third rounds, better known as the Championship Series and World Series, are composed of four and two teams, respectively, but are both best-of-seven (equivalently, first-to-four). Because of these three rounds . . . → Read More: Playoff Probabilities