This weekend, mathematics played a supporting role to Brad Pitt in one of fall’s first critical darlings, Moneyball. Based on the Michael Lewis book of the same name, the film profiles the Oakland A’s during their 2002 bid for World Series glory. What allegedly separates their story from the story of other teams during that season is the way General Manager Billy Beane, played by Brad Pitt, deals with the budget constraints imposed on him by the team’s owners.
With a payroll roughly a third the size of the Yankees’, Beane understood that the playing field was not a level one from an economic standpoint. What’s more, at the end of the 2001 season, three of the A’s star players left Oakland for bigger paychecks. To fill the void, the film (and book) show how Beane took a more analytic approach, and used statistical analysis to uncover . . . → Read More: Moneyball
Today I would like to wrap up my series on mathematics and weddings (a series begun here and continued here) with a little advice for soon-to-be brides and grooms who are looking to integrate some math into their celebrations. If this describes you, then congratulations – not only on your upcoming nuptials, but also on the classy way you are looking to celebrate them.
For our own wedding, my bride and I decided it would be natural to incorporate some mathematics into the table numbers. There is some freedom in how one decides to do this. For example, we initially toyed with the idea of using numbers for the tables that were somehow significant to us and our relationship, but found it too difficult to come up with examples meeting this criterion. If one wants intrinsically interesting numbers, there are many examples among the whole numbers (I was particularly fond of using . . . → Read More: Wedding Mathematics, Part 3
Last month I wrote a wedding-themed post on some statistics behind the show Four Weddings. Now, fully refreshed from my own two week honeymoon, I would like to take some time to discuss some other areas of intersection between weddings and mathematics.
One of the things I most looked forward to during the planning of our wedding was the determination of the seating chart. Searching for an optimal arrangement given peoples’ preferences to sit next to their friends and away from their enemies was a fun little challenge. In the end, though, perhaps I made things too easy on myself. Although I assigned people to specific tables, I did not assign seats within the tables themselves. Instead, people were free to sit however they chose once they found their table.
An example of our seating. Hat tip to Dave Gilbert for the shot!
Were I truly a glutton for punishment, I would . . . → Read More: Wedding Planning and the Ménage Problem
When my fiancee was in the midst of the wedding planning, part of her research (or perhaps it was simply a guilty pleasure) involved watching wedding shows on basic cable. For those of you who have not had the pleasure, between stations like WE tv and TLC, there are no fewer than nine different wedding-themed reality shows airing weekly. Many of them are appealing in a rubbernecking sort of way; much like a car crash, the spectacle is too ridiculous to turn away from (I’m looking at you, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding).
Of all of these shows, though, the one that most piques my mathematical interest is TLC’s Four Weddings. Based on a British show with the same name, the premise is as follows: four brides-to-be, unknown to one another, meet and attend each others’ weddings. When one bride gets married, the other three score various aspects of the . . . → Read More: Four Weddings and Some Statistics
Hi everyone. Apologies for flying under the radar lately. I am getting married soon, and along with life’s usual habit of getting in the way, preparations are surprisingly time consuming.
Having said that, I have a couple of articles in the pipeline specifically addressing the intersection of mathematics and weddings (the intersection is non-empty, I assure you). In the meantime, if you’re looking for a mathematical fix, you need look no further than this link, which gives an explicit function whose graph bears a striking resemblance to the Batman logo. Mathematicians who need to contact crime fighters need no longer live in fear.
Na-na-na-na Na-na-na-na MATH GRAPHS!!!!
Want to see your favorite superhero’s logo memorialized in the Cartesian coordinate plane? Give it a shot!
I’ll be back soon with some more substantial content. Hat tip to Nate for the link to this . . . → Read More: Batman Interlude
Sorry I’m so late to the party on this one, but I wanted to draw your attention to this NPR article from a couple of months back. It profiles the “Songwriter in Residence” program at the University of Tennessee’s National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (or NIMBioS if you feel like spitting a bunch of letters out of your mouth). The experimental program hires songwriters for one month stints at the Institute, during which time they work with researchers to develop two songs on current scientific/mathematical research. Here’s one of the resident’s performing a song on sexual selection:
While combining the arts with the sciences is nothing new, it’s cool to see a program embrace the intersection of these disciplines with such gusto. Of course, it can be difficult to squeeze educational content out of a song with a science focus, but if School House . . . → Read More: Math Jams
Hi all. As a small gift for you going into this weekend, here‘s a link to an article from The Numbers Guy at the Wall Street Journal. I was one of several people interviewed for my thoughts on the preponderance of math holidays that have been in the news recently. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you will already know my general feelings towards these holidays. More details, though, can be found here or here. If you’re curious, you can probably find other articles in which I jump on the soapbox.
I’ll be back next week with something more substantive. In the meantime, enjoy your weekend, and if you’re in Los Angeles, . . . → Read More: More Shameless Self-Promotion
This week marks the third anniversary of Math Goes Pop! As such, I thought it might be appropriate to engage in a bit of navel-gazing. But since I can gaze at my own navel whenever I please, I’d like to flip the script, as it were, and turn my attention towards the collective navels of my readership.
Our cat's third birthday is also this week. It is unclear which event he is celebrating, although the dilated pupils suggest he is celebrating a bit too hard.
I’d like to share with you some data on the geographic distribution of my US readers. While there is a large California bias, people from all over the country seem to have stumbled upon this corner of the internet, and have hopefully enjoyed their time here.
This represents you, gentle reader. Darker green means more viewers.
Of course, a California bias shouldn’t be all that surprising. . . . → Read More: Some Readership Statistics