Girls’ Angle Bulletin, Volume 10, Number 4


The electronic version of the latest issue of the Girls’ Angle Bulletin is now available on our website.

Volume 10, Number 4 opens with an interview with Nalini Joshi, Professor of Mathematics in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Sydney. Prof. Joshi received her doctoral degree from Princeton University. She studied differential equations. The cover represents the iterates of an integrable third-order difference equation that arose out of joint work between her and Dr. C.-M. Viallet of CNRS and Sorbonne Universités. Dr. Viallet created the cover image.

In the 10th installment of In Search of Nice Triangles, Emily and Jasmine apply the knowledge they learned from Prof. Alison Miller from Part 9 and succeed in finding the minimum polynomials of the cosines of “nice” angles, a big step toward their goal of classifying all triangles that have 3 “nice” angles and 2 sides of integer length.

In Anna’s Math Journal, Anna gives in to the temptation of the generating function and uses it to prove her conjecture about the number of “special” tilings of a 1 by \sqrt{2} rectangle.

Next up, Milena Harned and Miriam Rittenberg explain different ways of counting the number of ways a game of NIM can be carried out. In this first half, they find explicit formulas when the game begins with two piles, one of which has a small number of counters. In the final half, which will appear in June, they will examine the asymptotics of the general 2-pile case.

Detail from Vermeer’s Art of Painting

Recently at the Girls’ Angle club, some members have been studying perspective drawing and practicing the theory by making drawings of geometric objects such as a checkerboard, like the one in the floor of Vermeer’s Art of Painting. This issue’s Math In Your World shows how the harmonic mean lurks within this topic. In fact, there’s a lot of beautiful mathematics in perspective drawing.

Milena Harned decided to generalize an idea she found on the 2002 American Invitational Mathematics Exam I. Along the way, she found some polynomials that relate to the famous way of obtaining the Fibonacci numbers from Pascal’s triangle shown at left.

We hope you enjoy it!

Finally, a reminder: when you subscribe to the Girls’ Angle Bulletin, you’re not just getting a subscription to a magazine. You are also gaining access to the Girls’ Angle mentors.  We urge all subscribers and members to write us with your math questions or anything else in the Bulletin or having to do with mathematics in general. We will respond. We want you to get active and do mathematics. Parts of the Bulletin are written to induce you to wonder and respond with more questions. Don’t let those questions fade away and become forgotten. Send them to us!

We continue to encourage people to subscribe to our print version, so we have removed some content from the electronic version.  Subscriptions are a great way to support Girls’ Angle while getting something concrete back in return.  We hope you subscribe!

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Math Intuition Test

After you make your intuitive guess, compute to find out the truth!

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Girls’ Angle Bulletin, Volume 10, Number 3

blog_022817_01The electronic version of the latest issue of the Girls’ Angle Bulletin is now available on our website.

Volume 10, Number 3 opens with an interview with Sommer Gentry, professor of mathematics at the US Naval Academy. Prof. Gentry invented a system for optimizing kidney transplantation that positively. This interview was conducted by Girls’ Angle progam assistant Long Nguyen. As has been our practice, we truncate the interview in the electronic version. For the full version, please subscribe!

blog_022817_02Next comes Villanova assistant professor of mathematics Beth Malmskog‘s concluding part of Quilt-Doku! Here she shows that a 5 by 5 row complete Latin square is impossible. Shown at right is a row complete Latin square of order 15. It remains an unsolved problem to determine if there are any row complete Latin squares of odd prime order.  In fact, it isn’t even known that there isn’t one of order 13. Can you prove it?

gabv10n03_areaproblems_g01Test your area computation skills in Area Area. Can you solve these area problems in your head?

Anna B. continues to search for a combinatorial proof that the conjectured formula she found for the number of special tilings of a 1 by \sqrt{2} rectangle is, in fact, valid. She remains stumped. Can you help her prove that the close-form formula she found is correct?

Emily and Jasmine continue their pursuit of triangles with 3 nice angles but only 2 sides of integer length at Cake Country where they run into Alison Miller, a Benamin Peirce and NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University. Prof. Miller gives them a lot to chew on for next time! She also mentions Gauss’s Lemma, but doesn’t have time to prove it, so we provide an installment of Learn by Doing where you can prove the lemma for yourself.

The cover pertains to Addie Summer’s follow-up to her article on the quadratic formula. In this issue, she creates a graphical representation of monic quadratics and interprets properties of them geometrically. On the cover, the surface represents monic cubics with multiple roots. Specifically, it is the surface of points (bcd) in bcd-coordinate space such that the cubic x^3 + bx^2+cx+d has multiple real roots. (Note that if a cubic with real coefficients has multiple real roots, then all of its roots are real.) This graph was created using MATLAB, a powerful suite of math software created by MathWorks. MathWorks has been a valuable sponsor of the Girls’ Angle Bulletin for several years.

For fun, we offer a self-referential true/false quiz that was inspired by a self-referential multiple choice test created by Jim Propp.

Finally, we conclude with Notes from the Club, which contains a description of one of our more versatile and popular games: Describe that Drawing.

We hope you enjoy it!

Finally, a reminder: when you subscribe to the Girls’ Angle Bulletin, you’re not just getting a subscription to a magazine. You are also gaining access to the Girls’ Angle mentors.  We urge all subscribers and members to write us with your math questions or anything else in the Bulletin or having to do with mathematics in general. We will respond. We want you to get active and do mathematics. Parts of the Bulletin are written to induce you to wonder and respond with more questions. Don’t let those questions fade away and become forgotten. Send them to us!

We continue to encourage people to subscribe to our print version, so we have removed some content from the electronic version.  Subscriptions are a great way to support Girls’ Angle while getting something concrete back in return.  We hope you subscribe!

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Happy New Year 2017!

happy-new-year-2017_girls-angle

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Girls’ Angle Bulletin, Volume 10, Number 2

blog_123116_01The electronic version of the latest issue of the Girls’ Angle Bulletin is now available on our website.

Volume 10, Number 2 opens with an interview with Doris Schattschneider, professor emerita of mathematics at Moravian College. Among many other things, Professor Schattschneider was the first woman to serve as editor of the MAA’s Mathematics Magazine. This interview was conducted by Girls’ Angle summer intern Sandy Pelkowsky. As has been our practice, we truncate the interview in the electronic version. For the full version, please subscribe!

The cover is a picture of the function x^2 + y^2, modulo the prime number 503. For more examples and an explanation of how the image was made, check out this issue’s Mathematical Buffet.

We feature a contribution from Villanova assistant professor of mathematics Beth Malmskog, Quilt-Doku! Prof. Malmskog shows how she went from a quilting friend’s request to unsolved problems in mathematics. She blogs for the American Mathematical Society – check it out!

blog_123116_03We’d also like to take special note of a member contribution in Member’s Thoughts.  Here, π takes us along on her derivation of the volume of a regular n-simplex. An n-simplex is an n-dimensional generalization of the triangle.

Emily and Jasmine continue their pursuit of triangles with 3 nice angles but only 2 sides of integer length. While they make some progress in their investigation of the minimal polynomials of cosines of nice angles, the journey begins to appear rather daunting!

blog_103116_04Last issue, Anna B. found a recursive formula for the number of special tilings of a 1 by \sqrt{2} rectangle. In this issue, she manages to guess the closed-form formula, but is unable to prove it. Can you help her prove that the close-form formula she found is correct?

blog_123116_02Addie Summer explains how she discovered the quadratic formula. In the process, she shows that the algebraic technique known as “completing the square” corresponds to a natural geometric idea: shifting the parabola sideways so that it is symmetric about the y-axis.

In Notes from the Club, we mention a few of the things that have been happening at the Girls’ Angle club and give a sampling of problems from our traditional end-of-session Math Collaboration.

We hope you enjoy it!

Finally, a reminder: when you subscribe to the Girls’ Angle Bulletin, you’re not just getting a subscription to a magazine. You are also gaining access to the Girls’ Angle mentors.  We urge all subscribers and members to write us with your math questions or anything else in the Bulletin or having to do with mathematics in general. We will respond. We want you to get active and do mathematics. Parts of the Bulletin are written to induce you to wonder and respond with more questions. Don’t let those questions fade away and become forgotten. Send them to us!

We continue to encourage people to subscribe to our print version, so we have removed some content from the electronic version.  Subscriptions are a great way to support Girls’ Angle while getting something concrete back in return.  We hope you subscribe!

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Chebyshev Polynomials of the First Kind

This animation illustrates the connection between roots of the Chebyshev polynomials (of the first kind) and the vertices of a regular polygon inscribed in the unit circle centered at the origin. For a still image, see the cover of the Volume 8, Number 5 of the Girls’ Angle Bulletin.

chebyshev5_girlsangle

 

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Potatoes are made of ducks

Receduckpotatontly at the Girls’ Angle Club, we mentioned that from a contradiction, one can prove anything. One of our members, Barry Allen (pseudonym!), challenged us to prove that potatoes are made of ducks given that potatoes are made of wood.

So we did. Continue reading

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