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  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘Weird Math’ aims to connect numbers and equations to the real world

    Weird MathDavid Darling and Agnijo BanerjeeBasic Books, $27

    Weird Math sets out to “reveal the strange connections between math and everyday life.” The book fulfills that laudable goal, in part. At times, teenage math prodigy Agnijo Banerjee and his tutor, science writer David Darling, find ways to make complex math relatable, like linking chaos theory to weather forecasting and...

    04/16/2018 - 07:00 Numbers, Computing, Science & Society
  • Science & the Public

    Forget Pi Day. We should be celebrating Tau Day

    As a physics reporter and lover of mathematics, I won’t be celebrating Pi Day this year. That’s because pi is wrong.

    I don’t mean that the value is incorrect. Pi, known by the symbol π, is the number you get when you divide a circle’s circumference by its diameter: 3.14159… and so on without end. But, as some mathematicians have argued, the mathematical constant was poorly chosen, and...

    03/14/2018 - 11:30 Numbers
  • Science Ticker

    The largest known prime number has 23 million-plus digits

    There’s a new largest known prime number in town, with a whopping 23,249,425 digits. The figure is calculated by multiplying 2 by itself 77,232,917 times and then subtracting 1. Announced on January 3, the number is almost a million digits longer than the last record-breaking prime.

    A prime number can’t be divided by anything other than 1 and itself. If you started counting at 1, you’d...

    01/05/2018 - 07:00 Numbers
  • Reviews & Previews

    New physics books don’t censor the math behind reality

    Many books about science are meant to be pleasure reading. Such books attempt to convey the wonder and fascination and excitement of science, and ideally some of the substance as well. After all, good popular science writing is not only engaging and entertaining, but also informative. But even very informative popular books are not designed to be fully educational about the science in...

    10/16/2017 - 15:00 Physics, Numbers
  • Context

    Debates on whether science is broken don’t fit in tweets

    In the Twitterverse, science can stir up some vigorous debates. And they’re not all about the standard issues of climate change, vaccines and evolution. Some dueling tweets involve the scientific enterprise itself.

    For instance, one recent tweet proclaimed “Science isn’t ‘self-correcting.’ Science is broken,” linking to a commentary about the well-documented problem that many scientific...

    09/08/2017 - 07:00 Science & Society, Numbers