image: www.flickr.com |

Suppose you are in a large room that random people generally enter. How many people must be in the room before the probability that some share a birthday becomes at least 50 percent?

image: www.flickr.com |

Suppose you are in a large room that random people generally enter. How many people must be in the room before the probability that some share a birthday becomes at least 50 percent?

The Babylonian civilization rose and fell for *millenia*, and their culture can be classified into several distinct periods. The mathematical records that have survived come from two different periods: the First Babylonian Dynasty period (1800s - 1500s BCE) and the Selucid period (400 - 0 BCE). Very few documents fall between those two periods. The main focus of researchers are documents from the First Babylonian Dynasty, but the second period is interesting because it overlaps with great mathematicians from Ancient Greece.

One particularly famous Babylonian was Hammurabi, the king of Babylon for much of the 18th century BCE. Hammurabi's Code is the oldest known form of constitution for a government, and the stone on which it is written is the longest surviving work from the Old Babylonian period.

Happy Tuesday from the Center of Math team! Our Problem of the Week is coming to you one day later than usual because we celebrated Memorial Day yesterday. Here's the problem, which we posted on our Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ accounts just a little while ago:

As usual, I've provided my solution to this geometry problem below...

image: www.nj.com |

Of course, we're celebrating here by honoring a few math-minded people who have served in the United States armed forces. While there are surely many mathematicians who have served their countries all around the world (Alan Turing comes to mind), here are three Americans that you may not have heard of...

We've mentioned

Happy Monday from the Center of Math team! Here's our newest Problem of the Week, which we posted to our social media accounts just a little while ago:

Click to expand! |

A geometry and trig problem! We haven't seen one of these in a while. There are several ways to solve this problem, and I'll show just one of them below...

A digital representaion of a Julia set quaternion |

Hamilton named a quadruple of this type a *quaternion* and he devoted the rest of his career to their study. The simplest definition of such a number is a four-dimensional number. Quaternions are still studied today, and present a number of uses in modern mathematics. According to *The Math Book* by Clifford Pickover, they've been used to describe the dynamics of motion in three dimensions, and have been applied to fields including virtual reality computer graphics, game programming, robots, bioinformatics, and flight software of spacecrafts.

The invention, or discovery, of quaternions represents a moment of great ingenuity in math history. You can actually still visit Brougham (Broom) Bridge today, and see the plaque commemorating Hamilton's discovery. There is even an annual commemorative walk following Hamilton and his wife's path on that fateful morning. Perhaps we should have added this location to our list of math destinations!

One more fun fact about quaternions is that they generated such polarizing responses from the math community. Scottish physicist William Thomson(1824 - 1907) considered them an "unmixed evil to those who have touched them in any way," while mathematician Oliver Heaviside thought of their invention as a feat of human ingenuity. Curiously, one mathematician (who gained his fame from a harshly different circumatance) who studied quaternions was Theodore Kaczynski, the "Unabomber."

We at the Center of Math have been inspired in unforeseen
ways by this beautiful weather. Our artistic sides are out and about! So, we've compiled this list of greatly varied pieces of art that are influenced by mathematics.

http://www.mcescher.com/gallery/mathematical/study-for-stars/ |

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

The Center of Math has surpassed 25,000 followers on Twitter!

As a small textbook publisher, social media means everything to our company. We use Twitter (as well as Facebook, Youtube, Google+, Instagram...) to get our name out there. We put ourselves out there with around two posts per day to create brand awareness, and to get our videos, textbooks, and math resources within reach of students all over the world. Reaching 25K followers is a huge milestone on our path to becoming the go-to mathematics resource on the internet.

Here are some fun facts about our Twitter account:

Happy Monday from the Center of Math! I hope you've all been looking forward to the Problem of the Week as much as I looked forward to writing it. The problem today is rather interesting; take a look just below:

So we have a lot of variables to work with and not many solid numbers. This is the perfect ground to look for patterns. See my solution below, AND a solution by one of our Twitter followers...

Click on the picture to expand! |

This Sunday is Mother's Day (hi Mom!), so I took a math topic that I think is fun and themed it to fit the holiday. The Stable Marriage Problem is the famous mathematical scenario that we chose. Instead of a small village that has 10 women and 10 men who need to be paired in matrimony, we used mothers and the presents that their children picked out for Mother's Day.

Tori's handwriting demonstrates a few properties of the first two perfect numbers |

A perfect number is defined as a positive integer that is equal to the sum of its positive divisors, excluding itself. The definition appeared as early as Euclid's Elements, and only four of these numbers had been discovered before the Renaissance. The discovery process was so slow because these numbers are inredibly rare- the first is 6. It's a relatively small number, and makes the viewer think that the numbers may common. The next perfect number is 28, and then 496. A Greek mathematician (circa 100 CE) named Nicomachus is credited with the discovery of the fourth perfect number: 8128. Then, more than a millenium passed before an unknown mathematician recorded the fifth perfect number, 33,550,336, for the first time.

After doing a little research, I’ve discovered that Cinco de
Mayo is a holiday celebrated possibly more in the United States than in Mexico,
its country of origin. Cinco de Mayo began as the celebration of a battle- it
commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla in
1862. This victory was particularly important in the Franco-Mexican war because
it was an impossible feat as the Mexicans won against a much better equipped
army.

In the United States, it is often utilized by Mexican
Americans as a celebration of Mexican culture, including festivals and parades
in some cities. In typical Center of Math fashion, we will use this opportunity to feature a prominent Mexican mathematician, Fray Diego Rodriguez!

We love movies. We love math. But our favorite thing is when those two worlds are combined. In the list below, we've done our best to curate a collection of math movies that everyone will love.

**Pi –** Any list of math movies has to begin with Darren
Aronofsky’s directorial debut from 1998, *Pi.
*Starring Sean Gullette as mathematician and number theorist Max Cohen, *Pi *tells a story of one man’s descent
towards insanity, and the dark side that comes with pursuing a lifelong
passion. Max is hell-bent on finding a way to “crack the code” of nature through
the use of mathematics, and will stop at nothing until he can accomplish his
goal. Max’s quest takes him from the stock market and financial world to
studying Gematria, an ancient Jewish tradition in which letters are given
numerical values. This film sticks with you for a long time after you’ve seen
it, and really does make viewers wonder if there is a code to crack the world.

Happy Monday, and a good May the 4th to any Star Wars fans in our audience! I discovered this problem while browsing the internet a few months ago, and I'm glad some simple googling led me to find it again. While this is not a particularly challenging Problem of the Week for our more advanced college and beyond followers, it's still a fun review of algebra!

I've transcribed the word problem that I found in this article. Isn't it great that such a young math student created this problem? I posted it on our Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages, and I've included my solution below.

This word problem is just that: wordy. Beneath the Star Wars jargon is an algebra problem similar to one you could find in the SAT math section, or on an algebra test. See my solution below...

I've transcribed the word problem that I found in this article. Isn't it great that such a young math student created this problem? I posted it on our Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages, and I've included my solution below.

Click to make the picture larger! |

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