November’s Site of the Month: Mathematical Association of America
A comprehensive site aimed primarily at the undergraduate level, but useful for all those interested in mathematics. At the bottom of the page the Community Centre is worth exploring: the SIGMAA’s are particular interest groups; the Blogs are by mathematicians; the Most Popular Topics can be clicked on to find books reviews. On the right hand side, the Found Math link in the Fun Math section links to a variety of interesting artifacts.
November’s Book of the Month is Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter (Basic Books, 1979).
This book is about symmetry, self-reference, and other fundamental mathematical ideas explored through the works of the three people named in the title. Despite word-play being a fundamental feature of the book, it has been successfully translated into French, German, Spanish, Chinese, Swedish, Dutch and Russian.
Douglas Hofstadter took over from Martin Gardner writing for the Scientific American. A collection of these writings, Metamagical Themas, is another work that will be of interest.
October’s site of the month: Mathematics Today
Mathematics Today is a magazine published by the UK Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.
It is a general interest magazine about mathematics intended for those interested in the subject. Much material is UK-specific, however it contains many general articles that are downloadable from the website.
October’s Book of the Month is Cuentos Con Cuentas by Miguel de Guzman (Labor, Barcelona, 1984).
This is also published in English under the title The Countingbury Tales, translated by Jody Doran and published by World Scientific (2000).
Have a look inside.
Miguel de Guzman wrote other similar books, the most well known being Aventuras Matematicas which is also published in Chinese, Finnish, French and Portuguese.
Originating author is César R. de Oliveira, Universidade Federal de São Carlos.
What path will a leaf follow floating down a turbulent stream? Is it even possible to make a mathematical model that will predict such motion? Is this the same sort of problem as predicting the path of planets as they move round the sun? Even when we know all the rules governing the motion of an object, and can determine precisely the initial conditions, it turns out that some motions can be predicted and some cannot. And it is not just a matter of complexity: we can model unpredictable systems with very simple equations. In this Vignette we illustrate mathematically the existence of chaotic dynamical systems using the decimal form of real numbers. You will see how the unpredictability can be simply generated. One of the main goals of theoretical models is to make (good) predictions. However, there are deterministic dynamical systems that in practice are unpredictable; they are the so-called chaotic systems. The aim of this text is to discuss how this unpredictability is generated, and the main tool here will be the decimal representation of real numbers.
September’s featured book of the month is “Mathematical Models” by H.M. Cundy and A.P. Rolett.
This classic was first published in 1952 by Oxford University Press, but was republished in paperback by Tarquin in 1981.
As well as nets polyhedra, it has a wide variety of linkages and dissections, as well as several mechanical models.
September’s site of the month: Bridges
Bridges is an organisation that oversees the annual Bridges conference on Mathematics and Art. It contains images and resources of many different kinds of artistic representations, from poetry to models, from dance to origami, from juggling to painting. The -Resources- link on the homepage contains links to other websites of interest to teachers.
August’s featured book of the month is “Indra’s Pearls: The Vision of Felix Klein” by David Mumford, Caroline Series and David Wright.
“The book explores the patterns created by iterating conformal maps of the complex plane called Möbius transformations, and their connections with symmetry and self-similarity.
The book’s title refers to Indra’s net, a metaphorical object described in the Buddhist text of the Flower Garland Sutra. Indra’s net consists of an infinite array of gossamer strands and pearls. The frontispiece to Indra’s Pearls quotes the following description:
- In the glistening surface of each pearl are reflected all the other pearls … In each reflection, again are reflected all the infinitely many other pearls, so that by this process, reflections of reflections continue without end.
The allusion to Felix Klein’s “vision” is a reference to Klein’s early investigations of Schottky groups and hand-drawn plots of their limit sets. It also refers to Klein’s wider vision of the connections between group theory, symmetry and geometry.”
July’s featured book of the month is “Mathematical Puzzles and Diversions” by Martin Gardner.
This book, which was originally published by Simon & Schuster in 1959, and later by University of Chigaco Press in 1988, is the first of several collections of Martin Gardner’s column in the Scientific American. These books represent a very small proportion of the total writings of Martin Garnder — for a full bibliography go to Martin Gardner’s website.