Notations do not matter to the essence of mathematics. But poor notations can be misleading. Notations based on exponents, radicals and logarithms definitely are. They are very distinct, even though they are supposed to describe very similar relations between numbers. The triangle of power is a recently proposed alternative. In short, I am convinced!
When you look at these pictures, what do you think about? Each of these pictures is a symbol of peace, and it is likely that this word will pop up in your mind by looking at one of these pictures – at least. That is true… But beside the word itself, I barely see what […]
A large chunk of applied mathematics has focused on optimizing something with respect to all relevant data. However, in practice, especially in the online world, the data is not available to us, and, yet, we're still expected to make nearly optimal decisions. This problem is exemplified by the famous secretary problem, where a manager needs to decide to hire candidates right after interviews, even though he has not yet met all the candidates. In this article, we review this classic as well as many very recent developments.
It was when hearing the sounds of hammers that Pythagoras realized the ubiquity of numbers in mathematical harmony. He would go on laying down the mathematical foundations of music, based on octaves, perfect fifths and major thirds. This mathematics of music would then become the favourite playground of all musicians, from Beethoven to Gangnam Style.
No one believed him. Not even fellow mathematicians. They thought he was wrong. They thought he was crazy. Even he ended up doubting himself and went crazy. And yet, he had mathematically proved it all. Georg Cantor had figured out how to manipulate the infinite. Even more remarkable, he showed that there were actually several infinities; and some are bigger than others!
How to best sell a good? Should we auction it like in movies? Since the 1960s, economists have addressed this question mathematically and found surprising results. Most notably, in 1981, Nobel prize winner Roger Myerson proved that most auctions you could think of would win you just as much as any basic auction, but that, as well, you could do better using his approach. Since, today, billions of dollars are at play in online auctions, you can imagine how hot a topic it has now become!
You've probably learned early on that there are three primary colours. But why three? And why these three? Surprisingly, the answer lies in the beautiful mathematics of linear algebra and (high) dimension spaces!
This article follows the footsteps of the giants of physics that have moulded our current understanding of gravity. It is a series of brilliant inspirations, usually accompanied by deceiving misconceptions. After all, even today, gravity is still a slippery concept.
This article retraces the endless pursuit of the infinite that is at the basis of mathematical analysis. From the first approximations of pi to the shape of our limitless universe, from the essential usefulness of differential equations to the troubles with infinite sums, we present the great ideas of mathematical geniuses all along History.
In the last FIFA football world cup, many players complain about Manaus' unbearable heat condition. Yet, the thermometer only went up to 30°C (86°F). Why is that? Well, as it turns out, how you feel is not really the outside temperature. This article unveils many of our deep misconceptions about heat.
The power of algebra lies in abstraction, and abstraction is basically forgetting. By retracing the History of algebra from its roots to more recent advancements, this article unveils the numerous breakthrough in our understanding of the world, by abusing of the power of forgetting.
I know this sounds crazy. Even stupid. But Adidas did design a cubic ball, called brazuca, for the 2014 World Cup. And, yet, this cubic ball is rounder than any previous ball in football History. How is it possible? This article explains it.
2048 is the Internet sensation of the year. This very addictive game has been downloaded hundred of millions of times. Interestingly, this game raises plenty of intriguing mathematical questions. This article unveils some of them!
Column generation and the Dantzig-Wolfe decomposition are powerful tricks which have revolutionized optimization addressed to industrial problems, and generated millions and millions of dollars. My PhD supervisor effectively took great advantage of these tricks and founded companies with it. This article explains the tricks.
Do moving objects exhaust? Does the Moon accelerate? How strong is the gravity pull of the Moon on the Earth compared to that of the Earth on the Moon? While we've all learned Newton's laws of motion, many of us would get several answers of these questions wrong. That's not so surprising, as Newton's laws are deeply counter-intuitive. By stressing their weirdness with Veritasium videos, this article dives into a deep understanding of classical mechanics.
In an effort to make mathematics more computable, a consortium of today's greatest mathematicians have laid out new foundations. Amazingly, they all lie upon one single axiom, called univalence. The goal of this axiom is to make formal mathematics more similar to informal mathematics. With univalence, our Arabic numbers aren't just like natural numbers; They are natural numbers. Univalence also has unforeseen and mesmerizing consequences.
The Global Hunger Index was first published in 2006 by the International Food Policy Research Institute and the NGO Welthungerhilfe. In 2007, Concern worldwide joined them. Since then, the Index reports every year the evolution of the hunger situation worldwide and focus on a given topic. How is it calculated? And what is hunger? How are we connected ? What can be done? To learn more, read the article below.
In this article, we explore the possibilities allowed by higher inductive types. They enable a much more intuitive formalization of integers and new mind-blowing definitions of the (homotopical) circle and sphere.
In 2013, three dozens of today's brightest minds have just laid out new foundation of mathematics after a year of collective effort. This new paradigm better fits both informal and computationally-checkable mathematics. There is little doubt that it will fundamentally change our perspective on rigorous knowledge, and it could be that, in a few decades, the book they published turns out to be the bedrock of all mathematics, and, by extension, all human knowledge! Have a primer of this upcoming revolution, with this article on type theory, the theory that the book builds upon!
Take a square sheet of paper. Can you glue opposite sides without ever folding the paper? This is a conundrum that many of the greatest modern mathematicians, like Gauss, Riemann, and Mandelbrot, couldn't figure out. While John Nash did answer yes, he couldn't say how. After 160 years of research, Vincent Borrelli and his collaborators have finally provided a revolutionary and breathtaking example of a bending of a square sheet of paper! And it is spectacularly beautiful!