Math Jams

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 . . . → Read More: Math Jams

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Putting the “e” in “The Simpsons”

I think we can safely agree that The Simpsons isn’t the show that it used to be, but there are moments when its former charm shines through. As it pertains to the material of this blog, I was particularly pleased with a joke that ran on their Christmas episode. I have been meaning to tip my hat to this joke for some time, but it has been hard to find a spare moment to do so.

The joke ran at the end of a muppet-themed segment of the show. In an homage to Sesame Street, after the segment finished (but before the somewhat racy joke involving a very physical muppet Moe) an announcer stopped to give thanks to the sponsors of the show. Unlike Sesame Street, however, which is sponsored every day by two letters and a number, this episode of The Simpsons was sponsored by . . . → Read More: Putting the “e” in “The Simpsons”

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Math Goes Trick Or Treating Yet Again

Another year, another night of dressing in costumes on a quest for candy and/or debauchery. In previous years, I’ve tried to encourage mathematically influenced Halloween costumes (see here and here), and so if for no other reason than the sake of consistency, this year will be no different. Here are some new ideas for 2010:

1. The Count

This costume idea was suggested to me in the comments section of last year’s list. Known and loved by children and adults alike, this costume would give the wearer ample opportunity to teach children about the wonders of math. If you’re one of those people who give out pennies or toothbrushes, though, I would caution you against this costume decision, since the combination of a lack of candy and an insistence on discussing mathematics may dramatically increase the likelihood of you being at the receiving end of a “trick.”

. . . → Read More: Math Goes Trick Or Treating Yet Again

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