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Math Horizons - February 2008


A Conversation with Michael Moschen
Tim Chartier

Mathematics in motion--an interview with an incomparable juggler who "thinks in geometry."

Visual Gems of Number Theory
Roger B. Nelsen

You won’t believe your eyes when you see these proofs.

Math for Poets and Drummers
Rachel Wells Hall

Why counting meter matters. While English poets use relatively few meters, there are hundreds of meters in Sanskrit, the classical language of India. The struggle to classify such a whopping number of meters inspired several mathematical discoveries.

Crafty Counting
Frank A. Farris

You have a collection of identical tiles, each shaped like an isosceles right triangle. They are white on one side and royal blue on the other. Two together form a square and eight of them fit nicely to make a larger square. You discover that, by turning some blue-side-up and others white-side-up, you can make a variety of pretty patterns in the large square. How many patterns are possible? A correct count calls for more craft: the notion of a groups acting on a set. (Homage to Sol LeWitt).

Juggling Performers + Math = ?
Gregory S. Warrington

Does mathematics help jugglers discover new patterns? The mathematical language of siteswaps is a microcosm for mathematics as a whole. There is great beauty and utility in what it says about juggling. Mathematics is lending insight. But most juggling performers are primarily concerned with entertaining and impressing lay audiences.

Perelman’s Song
Tina S. Chang

The recent proof of the Poincaré Conjecture may inspire more than just mathematicians.

Old School Graphics
Amy Shell-Gellasch

A historical perspective on visualizing surfaces through descriptive geometry. Though computer generated images are infinitely more flexible and accessible, physical models are somehow much more satisfying from a visual and kinesthetic perspective.

The Center for Women in Math at Smith College
Ruth Haas and James Henle

An opportunity for an extensive mathematics experience at a women’s college.

Book Reviews
Jacob McMillen and Natalya St. Clair

Students review Tribute to a Mathemagician  (edited by Barry Cipra, Erik Demaine, Martin Demaine, and Tom Rodgers) and Math Made Visual: Creating Images for Understanding Mathematics (by Claudi Alsina and Roger Nelsen).

Problem Section
Andy Liu and Derek Smith