Deathbed dream puzzles of renowned Indian mathematician Srinivasa finally solved – 100 years after he died | Mail Online

Srinivasa Ramanujan

Srinivasa Ramanujan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Researchers have finally solved the cryptic deathbed puzzle renowned Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan claimed came to him in dreams.

While on his death-bed in 1920, Ramanujan wrote a letter to his mentor, English mathematician G. H. Hardy, outlining several new mathematical functions never before heard of, along with a hunch about how they worked.

Decades years later, researchers say they’ve proved he was right – and that the formula could explain the behaviour of black holes.

via Deathbed dream puzzles of renowned Indian mathematician Srinivasa finally solved – 100 years after he died | Mail Online.

Herman Cain’s Pseudomathematics : EvolutionBlog

I love it when people get caught out trying to snow others with fake math references. Now it’s the turn of Herman Cain.

Finding out that [Herman] Cain was a math major gives me the same flush of embarrassment I get when I hear that a Jew did something bad. As for bamboozling people with mathematics, thats just an old creationist trick.

via Herman Cain’s Pseudomathematics : EvolutionBlog.

Duel at Dawn: math can do that to you

In Hungary, winters can be long (so I’m assuming). Before television, intelligent Hungarians tried many different pastimes to make it through those dark days. One of these, János Bolyai, resorted to non-Euclidean geometry.

Bolyai wasn’t warning his son off gambling, or poetry, or a poorly chosen love affair. He was trying to keep him away from non-Euclidean geometry.

via Duel at Dawn – The Barnes & Noble Review.

I myself tend to contemplate the Cantor Set, but that’s just me. This looks like a tempting book, though.

This is how I learned math. Math is hard.

“Everyone fails a math test,” my tutor told me, after I had failed one. I found out, as time went on, that those words were not just a consolation but the truth.

Math, for the vast majority of us non-child-geniuses and prodigies, is very difficult. However, you simply have to get through it. You do the work, and eventually get to understand not only how to get the right answer, and get it in a timely, efficient manner, but why the right answer is right. The mechanics of it have been revealed to you on your much-erased piece of scratch paper. You can now use it to climb further into the series of riddles and mysteries that is math.

You also learn why the wrong answer is wrong. You learn what won’t work, and why.

And now it seems as though other people besides me and my fellow math students see the value in this approach of getting things wrong for a while.

via Scientific American…

Getting It Wrong: Surprising Tips on How to Learn

For years, many educators have championed “errorless learning," advising teachers (and students) to create study conditions that do not permit errors. For example, a classroom teacher might drill students repeatedly on the same multiplication problem, with very little delay between the first and second presentations of the problem, ensuring that the student gets the answer correct each time.

The idea embedded in this approach is that if students make errors, they will learn the errors and be prevented (or slowed) in learning the correct information. But research by Nate Kornell, Matthew Hays and Robert Bjork at U.C.L.A. that recently appeared in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition reveals that this worry is misplaced. In fact, they found, learning becomes better if conditions are arranged so that students make errors.

People remember things better, longer, if they are given very challenging tests on the material, tests at which they are bound to fail. In a series of experiments, they showed that if students make an unsuccessful attempt to retrieve information before receiving an answer, they remember the information better than in a control condition in which they simply study the information. Trying and failing to retrieve the answer is actually helpful to learning. It’s an idea that has obvious applications for education, but could be useful for anyone who is trying to learn new material of any kind.

From our neck of the woods: math and computing history

Web Produced By: Jeannine Gallenstein
Last Update: 7:56 am
DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — A new Air Force supercomputer is named in honor of an Ohio man who was instrumental in cracking Nazi codes during World War II.The $2.2 million machine to be used by researchers at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton is called the “Desch.”

It will turn large amounts of radar surveillance data into three-dimensional video images that can observe an entire city and focus in close — on an individual lighting a cigarette, for example.

Joe Desch, who died in 1987, was the designer of a computer that helped the Allies break the Nazis’ Enigma codes.

Desch’s daughter, Debbie Anderson, planned to attend Monday’s unveiling of the
supercomputer and says it would have fascinated her father, and he would have wanted to know exactly how it worked.

(All Rights Reserved.  Copyright 2009 by the Associated Press.)

We here in Cincinnati are used to thinking of ourselves as in the backwaters of technological development or scientific or mathematical history.

However, it turns out that such is not always the case. This is the first time I have heard of Joe Desch, even though I’ve lived in Cincinnati always, and at least fancied myself well-versed in the history of math and computers.

Live and learn!

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