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Math Horizons Contents—November 2017

Math Horizons November 2017 Cover

Congressional gerrymandering is currently a hot-button topic that has been the subject of news articles, court cases, and . . . mathematics seminars. Yes, Temple University mathematician Moon Duchin has been on the front lines, encouraging mathematicians to look at the mathematics of drawing the boundaries of congressional districts. In our cover story, Duchin chats about this work and her view that, contrary to what G. H. Hardy wrote, mathematicians want to get involved in outreach.

Also, in this issue, Jim Propp discusses his use of geometry and symmetries to create fair teams at his son's paintball birthday party. Ray Rosentrater discusses how mathematics can be used to identify possible cases of fraud. And Lawrence Brenton describes the surprising appearance of geometry in religious rituals throughout history and around the globe. Enjoy these articles and more in the November issue of Math Horizons. —David Richeson, Editor

Volume 25, Issue 2


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Coloring a Complex Function

p. 2.
Need a break? Take out your colored pencils, and give Julie Barnes, William Kreahling, and Beth Schaubroeck’s coloring book a try.
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A Pivotal Moment: A Conversation with Moon Duchin

p. 5.
Moon Duchin discusses geometry, mathematical culture, applications of mathematics to social sciences, and more in this wide-ranging interview. Sophia D. Merow
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A Bigger Altar: Geometry & Ritual

p. 8.
Lawrence Brenton discusses the recurring geometric themes in religious rituals.
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Literature’s Greatest Opening Lines, as Written by Mathematicians

p. 11.
How would a mathematician have started these great novels? Ben Orlin
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Topological Crosswords

p. 12.
Sam Eastridge and J. Tanner Slagel present a new twist on the classic crossword puzzle.
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Decorate with Geometry

p. 14.
Lois M. Baron explains how to make decorative himmeli out of household objects—after explaining what himmeli is.
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The Story of 8

p. 16.
Michael P. Hitchman’s tribute to his favorite number.
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The Paintball Party

p. 18.
The deep math behind splitting partygoers into teams so no one exclaims “No fair!” James Propp
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p. 22.
Holley Friedlander reviews Trolling Euclid, by Tom Wright; Jim Wilder reviews Can You Solve My Problems?, by Alex Bellos.
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Faking Real Data

p. 24.
Benford’s law gives us a way of detecting faux facts. Ray Rosentrater
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Optimally Observing Orbiting Orbs

p. 27.
Brian Stonelake answers a child’s question: Where in space do the Earth and moon look as if they’re the same size?
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p. 30.
The Math Horizons problem section, edited by Gary Gordon
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You + MAA = Finding Your Dream Job

p. 34.
The MAA unveils a new careers website. Alexandra Branscombe
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