Public Nakedness

One of the greatest mathematicians of our world is best known by a possibly fictional story about the time he ran through town stark naked.  The Greek mathematician Archimedes of Syracuse has many accomplishments to his name, including an excellent approximation of pi and some outstanding inventions.  The anecdote referenced earlier, though, has to do […]

Doughnut = Coffee Cup

Did you know that a doughnut and a coffee cup are one and the same?  You didn’t?  Well, to a topologist, they are.  Topology is an area of math that is concerned with properties of space.  These mathematicians like to take shapes and see what can be made of them by deforming them without tearing.  […]

Queen of the Sciences

Often, mathematicians are well-rounded folks, being able to work with numbers and words simultaneously.  One famous mathematician and brilliant writer was Carl Friedrich Gauss.  He penned many lovely letters, including some romantic gems during and after the lives of his wives.  It is from him that mathematics gets the fitting moniker “The Queen of the […]

Fermat’s Last Theorem: What is it?

What exactly did Fermat’s Last Theorem say?  I think many of you are familiar with the Pythagorean Theorem.  That one basically says that you can find a missing side on a right triangle so long as you know the other two sides by using the formula In working with right triangles, there are several cases […]

Long Proof

What was the longest paper that you had to write in school?  I bet it comes nowhere close to the paper written by Andrew Wiles.  This mathematician wrote up a proof for Fermat’s Last Theorem that took 109 pages!  He presented it in 1995, made some corrections, and then found approval from his peers.  The […]