Girls’ Angle Bulletin, Volume 13, Number 2

This issue’s interview is with Prof. Raegan Higgins, associate professor of mathematics at Texas Tech University. Prof. Higgins went to college and graduate school with Prof. Christina Eubanks-Turner, who was our interviewee in the previous issue of the Bulletin. The two are the first two African-American women who achieved a doctoral degree in mathematics from the University of Nebraska Lincoln. We consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have had interviews with both of these remarkable women and to be able to present them to you in back-to-back issues.

Deanna Needell returns with a fascinating installment of The Needell in the Haystack which introduces neural nets and deep learning. Today, algorithms are capable of creating made-up human faces that are quite convincingly real. (Check out the faces at Generated Photos and see if you can tell which ones are fake.) Prof. Needell indicates how this is done.

Next, comes a clever self-referential True/False quiz by Michelle Chen. Self-referential tests are logic puzzles where there is a unique way to answer all the questions and have all the answers be correct. You don’t have to know any trivia because the statements refer to themselves, hence the name “self-referential.” It’s not that easy to come up with an interesting self-referential test that has a unique correct answer. If you like these, also check out the one by GhostInthehouseHolAnnherKatKatnis Everdeen, and Shark Inthepool, on pages 20-21 of Volume 11, Number 2 of this Bulletin. Can you solve Michelle’s?

Emily and Jasmine are giving themselves a thorough understanding of the areas of the shapes created by a double zigzag pattern across a rectangle. In this issue, they are able to determine all triangles of “type T” (as they call them) in such patterns by using a clever counting argument that spares them from a lot of computation.

Some members at Girls’ Angle have been thinking about and making perspective drawings. In Perspective On Perspective Drawing, Addie Summer takes a step back to explain the reason for mathematics in this subject. If you haven’t thought carefully about perspective drawing, the mathematics is actually rather subtle and quite interesting. (For example, the harmonic mean appears in a natural way in perspective drawing. See Math In Your World: Art and the Harmonic Mean on page 19 of  Volume 10, Number 4 of this Bulletin.) It’s already a challenge to produce a perspective drawing of cubes (see the cover).

If you like tennis, you’ve probably been thrilled with the relatively new Laver Cup tournament, which takes place two weeks after the US Open. In Laver Cup Scenarios we analyze how the very design of the tournament works to generate excitement.

Finally, we conclude with some Notes from the Club, which are authored by our Head Mentor Grace Work. In this one, you’ll find a few problems from our traditional end-of-session Math Collaboration which was designed and created by Girls’ Angle mentors Jenny Kaufmann and Laura Pierson.

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!

Also, the Girls’ Angle Bulletin is a venue for students who wish to showcase their mathematical achievements that go above and beyond the curriculum. If you’re a student and have discovered something nifty in math, considering submitting it to the Bulletin.

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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