Jackson Pollock couldn't possibly have been thinking of fractals when he started flinging and dripping paint from a stick onto canvas. After all, mathematicians didn't develop the idea of a fractal until a couple of decades later. But if one physicist is right, Pollock ended up painting fractals anyway. And that mathematical quality may explain why Pollock's seemingly chaotic streams of paint...
Fermat's last theorem is just one of many examples of innocent-looking problems that can long stymie even the most astute mathematicians. It took about 350 years to prove Fermat's tantalizing conjecture.
Now, Preda Mihailescu of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich has proved a theorem that is likely to lead to a solution of Catalan's conjecture, another venerable problem...
Just a year before his death in 1920 at the age of 32, mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan came upon a remarkable pattern in a special list of whole numbers.
The list represented counts of how many ways a given whole number can be expressed as a sum of positive integers. For example, 4 can be written as 3 + 1, 2 + 2, 2 + 1 + 1, and 1 + 1 + 1 + 1. Including 4 itself but...
Housed in a spectacular building redolent of crystals and light, the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa was recently the setting for a highly unusual school event–a mathematics field trip!
For several years, math teacher Ron Lancaster of Hamilton, Ontario, has been creating "math trails" for both students and teachers as a way to demonstrate that...
The organizers of the Breckenridge snow sculpture championships in Colorado must be getting used to having a mathematical element in their annual competition.
For the second year in a row, a team assembled by mathematician Stan Wagon of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., participated in the international event. In its debut effort last year, the team...