More than a thousand years before the first telescopes, Babylonian astronomers tracked the motion of planets across the night sky using simple arithmetic. But a newly translated text reveals that these ancient stargazers also used a far more advanced method, one that foreshadows the development of calculus over a…
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded its prestigious Crafoord Prize, honoring three scientists who have made outstanding achievements in black hole physics and a special kind of geometry.
The complexity of a puzzle is usually dependent on how many tiny pieces are crammed inside its box. But by introducing mathematical fractals into the design, this plain nine-piece puzzle by Oscar van Deventer looks like a nightmare to solve.
Rumors are swirling that Opeyemi Enoch, a professor from the Federal University of Oye Ekiti in Nigeria, has solved the Riemann Hypothesis, a problem that has vexed mathematicians for over 150 years. Too bad it’s not true.
You bid, you win, you pay the amount that you bid. That’s the rule for auctions, right? And that’s why you want to make the lowest bid you think will win. One type of auction, though, takes the guesswork out of it with economic theory.
Men, am I right? They’re everywhere. But why are there so many of them?
Technically speaking, pianos tuned to coventional 12-tone equal temperament aren’t actually in perfect tune. A new video from MinutePhysics explains the math behind this musical oddity, and why in the case of pianos, close enough is good enough.
Your cousin’s Facebook friends are probably going nuts over this image that claims to show how the early history of Arabic geometric design informs how we write numerals today. “Each figure contains its own number of corners and angles,” reads the text. That’s half-true of the drawings in the image. The rest is…
This spring, an 80-year-old Japanese chalk company went out of business. Nobody, perhaps, was as sad to see the company go as mathematicians who had become obsessed with Hagoromo Fulltouch Chalk, the so-called “Rolls Royce of chalk.”
The Golden Ratio is the secret, silver bullet for refined design and balanced aesthetics. It’s on display in great works of art like the Mona Lisa. Even the Apple logo leans on the Golden Ratio for mathematical order . At least that’s what you’ve been told. FastCo Design’s John Brownlee has news for you,…
What is a kilobit equal to? The answer is 1,000 bits, but some people say it should really be 1,024.
Happy Pi Day! How are you celebrating the transcendental, irrational mathematical constant central derived from circles on 3/14/15 at 9:26:53? For me, it's going to be giggling over physicists engaging in an epic chalk battle, and devouring an apple-ginger pie.
Inspired by the naturally-occurring mathematical Fibonacci sequences found in pine cones and sunflowers, Stanford University's John Edmark designed and 3D-printed these sculptures that appear come to life—with bizarre undulating animations—when filmed spinning using a strobe light or video camera with a high-speed…
This short film takes its inspiration from the 1969 film Tops directed by famed designers Ray and Charles Eames, and is literally nothing more than footage of spinning tops of all shapes, sizes, and colors. But don't be fooled, it's more captivating as anything Hollywood has produced in the past decade.
The myth: You can't fold a paper in half more than eight times.* The reality: Given a paper large enough—and enough energy—you can fold it as many times as you want. The problem: If you fold it 103 times, the thickness of your paper will be larger than the observable Universe: 93 billion light-years. Seriously.
Every digital device you use operates on a string of ones and zeroes, the binary "yes/no" decision at the foundation of modern computing. It's a concept so fundamental to our modern day that we rarely stop to wonder where it came from. But it's all the work of one man: Claude Shannon, whose fascinating story you've…
The roots of CGI lie in the first mechanical aids to drawing and painting. The earliest of these were developed to help solve a problem every artist has found to be sticky: perspective.
Fractal geometry is a field of math born in the 1970s and mainly developed by Benoit Mandelbrot. If you've already heard of fractals, you've probably seen the picture above. It's called the Mandelbrot Set and is an example of a fractal shape.
Many extreme roller coaster these days have vertical loops. Have you noticed that these loops are never circular? Why is this?