As a kid I spent a lot of time on the Maryland shore. Squinting out across the endless blue expanse, I could have sworn I saw the edge of Portugal once or twice. I was shocked recently to learn that my childhood imagination had it all wrong. (Truly, a first.) With telescopic vision, I wouldn’t see the coast of Europe.…
More than a thousand years before the first telescopes, Babylonian astronomers tracked the motion of planets across the night sky using simple arithmetic. But a newly translated text reveals that these ancient stargazers also used a far more advanced method, one that foreshadows the development of calculus over a…
This week’s puzzle is not about gravity, though you’d be excused for suspecting as much. After all, when most people read “Isaac Newton” and “tree” in the same sentence, they think also of falling apples. But this week’s puzzle, which is widely attributed to Newton, is actually an exercise in orderly arboriculture.
Happy Pi Day! How are you celebrating the transcendental, irrational mathematical constant central derived from circles on 3/14/15 at 9:26:53? For me, it's going to be giggling over physicists engaging in an epic chalk battle, and devouring an apple-ginger pie.
Matchstick puzzles (aka toothpick puzzles) typically involve adding to, subtracting from, or rearranging an initial configuration of matchsticks to create another, target configuration of matchsticks. Some of these puzzles can get rather complicated. This matchstick puzzle is more straightforward than most, but…
Here's a fun demonstration from Cornell maths professor Steven Strogatz. Take a clementine (or any spherical, peelable fruit) and trace around its widest part four times. Then peel it. Flatten out the peelings as best you can and divvy them up evenly among the circles. Voilà! Tangible proof that the the surface area…
No, there are no magnets in there. The ball is rolling just the way you see it.
Today's puzzle will be posed in two halves. The first half is a classic riddle – in fact, I suspect many of you will have heard it before. The second half, however, is an extension of the riddle that reveals its most common solution be be insufficient.
We've all been there. You pick up a slice of pizza and you're about to take a bite, but it flops over and dangles limply from your fingers instead. The crust isn't stiff enough to support the weight of the slice. Maybe you should have gone for fewer toppings? No. There's no need to despair.
How are you cutting your bagels? With a boring straight down the middle cut, or into a delicious linked breakfast chain, using the Mobius strip method?
Chocolatier Rafael Mutter's Chocolate Mill looks like a solid, cylindrical block of chocolate. In reality, it's ten-layers thick. As a a crank-turned blade shaves wafers of chocolate from the top, the underlying layers, each one flavored with a unique pattern of chocolate shapes, is revealed.
An intricate crop circle, pictured here, materialized last night in Poirino, Italy. This aerial view gives you a good sense of scale. See those cars in the upper left hand corner? Yeah. This thing's a biggie.
There are theories out there that space itself can be curved. This is a confusing idea for some people. A quick exercise with a globe can make it a little more understandable.
Pi is for planets, and spacecraft, for orbital dynamics and craters. It's 3.14, and it's all about circles.
The work of the Greek polymath Plato has kept millions of people busy for millennia. A few among them have been mathematicians who have obsessed about Platonic solids, a class of geometric forms that are highly regular and are commonly found in nature.
Add this to the list of things we never knew existed but now desperately need: The Evolution Door, a "flip-panel" invention by Austrian designer Klemens Torggler.
From London-based "paper engineer" (paper engineer!) Helen Friel comes this creative collection of colorful folding geometric designs. The name of the collection? "Here's looking at Euclid." GEOMETRY PUNS! We must have these.