Deborah Kent (Drake University) Omar Khayyam’s Geometrical Solution of the Cubic: An Example of Using History in the Teaching of Mathematics

Second talk at the Diversifying the curriculum conference in Oxford.

The following was taken down live, and as such there may be mistakes and misquotes. It is mostly a way for me to keep notes and to share useful resources and thoughts with others. As such, nothing should be used to quote the speaker from this article

From https://www.drake.edu/math/faculty/deborahkent/

From https://www.drake.edu/math/faculty/deborahkent/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to generate interesting conversations with students surrounding mathematical diversity.

Historical figures (From wikipedia):

Omar Khayyam 18 May 1048 – 4 December 1131) was a Persian mathematician, astronomer, and poet. He was born in Nishapur, in northeastern Iran, and spent most of his life near the court of the Karakhanid and Seljuq rulers in the period which witnessed the First Crusade.

As a mathematician, he is most notable for his work on the classification and solution of cubic equations, where he provided geometric solutions by the intersection of conics.

Learn Wolfram Mathematica in the Cloud part 5

Let’s do some list FU, a kind of Kung Fu with Wolfram language lists

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By | May 22nd, 2019|Level: Simple, Mathematica, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Wolfram Language, the Language of Mathematica is now Free!

The language that powers Mathematica is now available for free! Head here or here to read more about this new release. Or go straight to the download page to start tinkering with it.

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By | May 22nd, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Learn Wolfram Mathematica in the cloud part 3

Dipping into Lists

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By | May 14th, 2019|Level: Simple, Mathematica, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Using Math To Tell A Lie

A more appropriate heading for this would be “How a logical truth can be a lexical lie”, but hey, gotta have that clickbaity title. But nevertheless, I will frame this article as if I am addressing the title.

Apparently, sociologists/psychologists classify lies with a three tier system; primary, secondary, and tertiary. According to an article on Psychology Today, children as young as 2-3 tell have developed the ability to tell lies. And children of age 7-8 have developed the skill to tell what is dubbed “tertiary lies”, which are lies that are “more consistent with known facts and follow-up statements”. 

But how does telling a lie relate to mathematics? And exactly what tools can you use for such?

There exists a branch of logic, where logic is a branch of math, called propositional logic. Propositional logic is all about combining statements. A  statement is something you proclaim, that is either true or false.…

By | April 4th, 2019|Fun, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Linear Algebra for the Memes

I recently saw a post on Quora asking what people generally find exciting about Linear Algebra, and it really took me back, since Linear Algebra was the first thing in the more modern part of mathematics that I fell in love with, thanks to Dr Erwin. I decided to write a Mathemafrica post on concepts that I believe are foundational in Linear Algebra, or at least concepts whose beauty almost gets me in tears (of course this is only a really small part of what you would expect to see in a proper first Linear Algebra course). I did my best to keep it as fluffy as I saw necessary. I hope you will find some beauty as well in the content. If not, then maybe it will be useful for the memes. The post is incomplete as it stands. It has been suggested that this can be made more accessible to a wider audience than as it stands by possibly building up on it, so I shall work on that, but for now, enjoy this!

By | March 10th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

All you’ve ever wanted to know about absolute values (and weren’t afraid to ask)

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about absolute values, and so I thought I would try and clarify things here as much as possible. I’ll give some basic definitions and intuition, and then go through some examples, from easier to harder.

The absolute value function is just….a function. You give it a number, and it returns a number. In the same way that f(x)=x^2 is a function. You give it a number and it returns that number multiplied by itself. So the absolute value function, which we write as f(x)=|x| takes a number and returns the same number if the number was positive, and the negative of the number if it was negative, thus returning always a positive number.

We can think of this as the function “how far away from the point 0 (the origin) on the real number line is x?”. It doesn’t care about what direction it is, only how far away it is.…

By | February 22nd, 2019|Courses, First year, MAM1000, Uncategorized, Undergraduate|0 Comments

How to Fall Slower Than Gravity And Other Everyday (and Not So Everyday) Uses of Mathematics and Physical Reasoning – by Paul J. Nahin, a review

NB. I was sent this book as a review copy.

This book is without a doubt the most enjoyable, stimulating book of mathematical physics (and occasionally more pure branches of maths) puzzles that I have ever read. It’s essentially a series of cleverly, and occasionally fiendishly put-together mathematics and physics challenge questions, each of which gets you thinking in a new and fascinating way.

The level of mathematics needed is generally only up to relatively basic calculus, though there is the occasional diversion into a slightly more complex area, though anyone with basic first year university mathematics, or even a keen high school student who has done a little reading ahead, would be able to get a lot from the questions.

I found that there were a number of ways of going through the questions. Some of them are enjoyable to read, and simply ponder. For me, occasionally figuring out what should be done, without writing anything down, was enough to be pretty confident that I saw the ingenuity in the puzzle and the solution and I was happy to leave it at that.…

By | January 10th, 2019|Book reviews, Reviews, Uncategorized|1 Comment

1.2 Properties of Groups

Recall the definition of a group:

A set G is “upgraded” into a group if it satisfied the following axioms under one binary operation (*) :

  1. Closure: \forall x, y \in  G, x*y \in G
  2. Associativity: \forall x, y, z \in G, (x*y)*z = x*(y*z)
  3.  Identity: \exists e \in G,  \text{ called the identity element  such that } \forall x \in G, x*e = e*x = x
  4. Inverse:  \exists y \in G, \text{ called the inverse of x, with } x*y = y*x = e  \forall x \in G

An Abelian group is a group that is follows the axioms 1 – 4 with the addition of one property: 

  1. Commutativity: \forall  x, y \in G,  x*y = y*x

 

In addition to the axioms, the following properties of groups are important to note:

  1. Uniqueness of the identity element
  2. Uniqueness of the inverse element
  3. Cancellation law
  4. Inverse property (extended)

Uniqueness of an element in mathematics means there exists only one such element with that property. We prove uniqueness by making an assumption that there are two elements in the set that satisfy the property, and show that if such a situation holds, then the two elements must be equal!

We use * to denote the binary operation between elements and “QED” to signal the end of the proof.

The remainder of the post aims to go through the proofs of these properties!…

By | October 28th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

1.1 Groups Introduction

Binary operations are operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, modulus etc. that are applied to two quantities.

example 1: 2+5 is an example of an expression with addition as the binary operation

example 2: Let f and g be functions defined on sets A to B. Then the composition of the functions \text{ f(g(x)) } is a binary operation

We will use * to denote an arbitrary (general) binary operation.

A set G is “upgraded” into a group if it satisfied the following axioms under one binary operation (*) :

  1. Closure: \forall x, y \in  G, x*y \in G
  2. Associativity: \forall x, y, z \in G, (x*y)*z = x*(y*z)
  3.  Identity: \exists e \in G,  \text{ called the identity element  such that } \forall x \in G, x*e = e*x = x
  4. Inverse:  \exists y \in G, \text{is called an inverse element of } x \in G \text{ with } x*y = y*x = e

An Abelian group is a group that is follows the axioms 1 – 4 with the addition of one property: 

  1. Commutativity: \forall  x, y \in G,  x*y = y*x

For the remainder of this post, we will explore these axioms and look at some examples

Closure: \forall x, y \in  G, x*y \in G

This means we can take any elements in the set G and perform the operation defined by * and the result will also be an element in the group.…

By | October 28th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments