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Finding Coprime Pairs

April 29, 2018


Deferring or avoiding randomization

Great Discoveries in STEM source

Claude Bachet de Méziriac was a French mathematician of the early 1600s. He is the first person we know to have posed and solved the problem, given relatively prime (also called coprime) integers {x} and {y}, of finding integers {a} and {b} such that {ax + by = 1}.

Today we revisit some questions about generating coprime pairs deterministically.
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Tom Lehrer At 90

April 10, 2018


It makes a fellow proud to be a nerd

Tasmanian Archive source

Tom Lehrer is Emeritus Lecturer in Mathematics at Cowell College of the University of Santa Cruz. He is listed not in the Mathematics Department but in Humanities, for which he also lectured on musical theater. He was my first witness that effective input to the social conversation could start from conversancy in mathematics.

Yesterday was his 90th birthday and we hope he had a great one.
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The Entropy of Baseball

April 1, 2018


The most shocking existential fact about the universe?

Sports April Fools source

George Ruth Jr., the “Babe,” may have thought he had cosmic significance but no one knew it until now. He would have said it was all a joke anyway. He certainly loved pranks. As an April Fool’s joke during Florida spring training, he once let it be reported that he had slimmed down to 108 pounds and was beginning a new career as a jockey.

Today we report how the Babe—and every major-league player from David Aardsma and Henry Aaron to Edward Zwilling and Tony Zych—helped uncover a fact about the universe.
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Is There Momentum in Chess?

March 28, 2018


And if so, what units does it have?

Cropped from source

Fabiano Caruana has just won the 2018 chess Candidates Tournament. This earns him the right to challenge Magnus Carlsen for the world championship next November in London. A devastating loss on Saturday to the previous challenger, Sergey Karjakin, had seemed to presage a repeat of his last-round failure in the 2016 Candidates. But Caruana reversed the mojo completely with powerful victories in Monday’s and Tuesday’s last two rounds to win the tournament by a full point.

Today we congratulate Caruana on his triumph and hail the first time an American will challenge for the world championship since Bobby Fischer in 1972. And we ask, is there really such a thing as being “in” or “out of” form in chess and similar pursuits?
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Leprechauns Know What It Feels

March 17, 2018


To be human, that is

Neil L. has graced these pages many times before. Every eve of St. Patrick’s Day he has visited Dick. Sometimes Dick has been hard to find, but Neil has always managed.

Today we relate some medical news while wishing a Happy St. Patrick’s Day 2018.
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Happy 0x50th Birthday, Donald Knuth

March 14, 2018


A revel and revelation in Sweden

Cropped from “Knuth at Brown” video source

Donald Knuth’s 80th=0x50th birthday was on January 10. In the array {B} of his birthdays, numbering from zero so that {B[0]} stands for his birth day in 1938, that was indeed {B[80]}. However, as the 81st entry in the array it might have to be called his 81st birthday. Oh well.

Today we salute his 80th year—wait, it really is his 81st year—and wish him many more.
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The Lemma Cited From Burnside

March 3, 2018


How might it be applied in complexity theory?

St. Andrews history source

William Burnside was a well-known researcher into the early theory of finite groups.

Today Ken and I thought we would talk about one of his most-cited results—a result that is really due to others.
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