a math blog in the NY Times!

Tuesday 16 February 2010

I’ve had a lot of web pages opened and saved on my computer for a few weeks I’ve wanted to share with people but just haven’t gotten around to it, but I want to try and use these next few days to share.  I hope you can keep up!

First, two weeks ago I stumbled upon the creation of a weekly featured blog entry in the NY Times related to Mathematics!  I was so excited to see it and read it and share it (so now I’m doing part 3).

There have been 3 posts so far, with 15 total planned, and while the idea was exciting first — with the declared goal “to give you a better feeling for what math is all about and why it’s so enthralling to those who get it.” — I’ve felt a little underwhelmed with the results thus far.  While the topics thus far have been somewhat interesting for me, I don’t know if they’ve done a good job sparking a “better feeling” for math itself for those so inclined.  However, I also am probably not the best judge of that.

So, three weeks in, my excitement and joy of sharing this with you is a little muted, but maybe I’m selling it short, too.  I do enjoy work by the author, Steven Strogatz (also often featured on a favorite radio program of mine, RadioLab), so there’s no telling where it can go and I continue to keep reading.

Whether you’re a math person or not, check out the first three entries (links below) and see what you think.  Maybe I’m totally off and they’re much more accessible and enjoyable to non-math people than I realize — or maybe not.  Either way, at least now you know about it and can decide for yourself!

From Fish to Infinity (about the idea of counting and why numbers exist — includes a Sesame Street video clip!)
Rock Groups (dealing with adding and patterns)
The Enemy of My Enemy (a bit on subtraction and the idea of negative numbers)

List of all blogs on NY Times by Steven Strogatz