## Math: It Does A Body Good

Whether you are a whiz at math or not, there remains a universal fascination with how applied math principals help us understand the world around us. I've just discovered of a cool new website where you can get an answer to any math or physics question you want. Despite today's access to unlimited resources on the web, nothing beats this conversation style site that makes you feel like you've reconnected to that brilliant prof you had in your 20s and can only now appreciate in your 40s. Check out askamathmatician.com Questions range from trivial to philosophic: How can we prove that 2+2 always equals 4? What is the best way to understand relativity theory? Why is it so counter intuitive? Is teleportation possible? What is monotony? What is the connection between quantum physics and consciousness? Why does math work so well at modeling the world around us? In answer to the last question, one of the things that resounded with me was that mathematics "was primarily created for practical purposes... addition is used to count possessions, multiplication for trade, and geometry to measure plots of land (or some similar purposes). Mathematicians and scientists use math to model the world by constructing mathematical objects that capture important properties of physical things. Hence, it isn’t as though math just happens to work well for analyzing the world we live in, rather, it was specifically designed for that purpose. e.g. if I have two objects in one group and I combine them with three objects in another group, then my new group has five objects, which is mimicked by 2+3=5." I used this website as a jumping off point to discover other cool sites and books. Check out these math tatoos, how to books on overcoming your math phobia, learn about the Berkeley math circles that are inspiring our youth to gain a fascination with math, and other books with insights into some of the brilliant math minds of the century.

November 17, 2009 —

## Links & Resources

APPETIZING LINKS

What was Warhol thinking when he neglected to capture the faces of math? Click on this site for the images of iconic mathematicians with summaries of their contributions. Then buy a T-shirt, poster or note card-set depicting your favorite math dude(s) for the uber geek in your family or friends network. www.mathematicianspictures.com

Check out these math (and other geek) tatoos! www.theartofthetatoo.com

FUNTASTIC BOOKS

Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth This exceptional graphic novel recounts the spiritual odyssey of philosopher Bertrand Russell. In his agonized search for absolute truth, Russell crosses paths with legendary thinkers like Gottlob Frege, David Hilbert, and Kurt Godel, and finds a passionate student in the great Ludwig Wittgenstein. But his most ambitious goal--to establish unshakable logical foundations of mathematics--continues to loom before him. Through love and hate, peace and war, Russell persists in the dogged mission that threatens to claim both his career and his personal happiness, finally driving him to the brink of insanity. This story is at the same time a historical novel and an accessible explication of some of the biggest ideas of mathematics and modern philosophy. With rich characterizations and expressive, atmospheric artwork, the book spins the pursuit of these ideas into a highly satisfying tale. Probing and ingeniously layered, the book throws light on Russell's inner struggles while setting them in the context of the timeless questions he spent his life trying to answer. At its heart, Logicomix is a story about the conflict between an ideal rationality and the unchanging, flawed fabric of reality.*-Powells*

Overcoming Math Anxiety In researching similar books on this topic I found that 51 other books site this book within them. Also the reader comments spoke of students overcoming their math phobias and blocks and teachers using the book to help their students. Seems like a useful book for people wanting to learn math, or wanting to teach math.

A Decade of the Berkeley Math Circle: The American Experience (Msri Mathematical Circles Library) (v. 1) Many mathematicians have been drawn to mathematics through their experience with math circles: extracurricular programs exposing teenage students to advanced mathematical topics and a myriad of problem-solving techniques and inspiring in them a lifelong love for mathematics. Founded in 1998, the Berkeley Math Circle (BMC) is a pioneering model of a U.S. math circle, aspiring to prepare our best young minds for their future roles as mathematics leaders. Over the last decade, 50 instructors - from university professors to high school teachers to business tycoons - have shared their passion for mathematics by delivering more than 320 BMC sessions full of mathematical challenges and wonders.Based on a dozen of these sessions, this book encompasses a wide variety of enticing mathematical topics: from inversion in the plane to circle geometry; from combinatorics to Rubik's cube and abstract algebra; from number theory to mass point theory; from complex numbers to game theory via invariants and monovariants. The treatments of these subjects encompass every significant method of proof and emphasize ways of thinking and reasoning via 100 problem-solving techniques.Also featured are 300 problems, ranging from beginner to intermediate level, with occasional peaks of advanced problems and even some open questions. The book presents possible paths to studying mathematics and inevitably falling in love with it, via teaching two important skills: thinking creatively while still "obeying the rules," and making connections between problems, ideas, and theories. The book encourages you to apply the newly acquired knowledge to problems and guides you along the way, but rarely gives you ready answers. "Learning from our own mistakes" often occurs through discussions of non-proofs and common problem-solving pitfalls.The reader has to commit to mastering the new theories and techniques by "getting your hands dirty" with the problems, going back and reviewing necessary problem-solving techniques and theory, and persistently moving forward in the book. The mathematical world is huge: you'll never know everything, but you'll learn where to find things, how to connect and use them. The rewards will be substantial.*-Amazon*

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