List of famous mathematicians

Doing a school project on mathematicians? Don’t pick Einstein like your mom would… pick one from the following list instead. Then google their name + wikipedia, and tada, instant math project done!
Recorde, Robert
Ferrari, Ludovico
Viete, Francois
Stifel, Michael
Tartaglia, Niccolo
Cardano, Girolamo
Ceulen, Ludolph van
Stevin, Simon
Napier, John
Cataldi, Pietro Antonio
Briggs, Henry
Kepler, Johannes
Oughtred, William
Bachet, Claude-Gaspar, de Meziriac
Mersenne, Marin
Nicomachus of Gerasa
Theon of Smyrna
Diophantus I
Girard, Albert
Desargues, Girard
Descartes, Rene
Fermat, Pierre de
Tsu Ch’ung-Chi
Heron of Alexandria
Thabit ibn Qurra
Machin, John
Bernoulli, Nikolaus
Goldbach, Christian
Stirling, James
Euler, Leonhard
Buffon, Count Georges
Lambert, Johann
Lagrange, Joseph Louis
Brouncker, Lord William
Pascal, Blaise
Huygens, Christian
Newton, Isaac
Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm
Bernoulli, Johann
Wilson, John
Wessel, Caspar
Riemann, Bemard
Venn, John
Lucas, Edouard
Cantor, George
Lindemann, Ferdinand
Hilbert, David
Lehmer, D. N.
Hardy, G. H.
Ramanujan, Srinivasa
Erdos, Paul
Laplace, Pierre Simon de
Legendre, Adrien Marie
Nieuwland, Pieter
Ruffini, Paolo
Argand, Jean Robert
Gauss, Karl Friedrich
Brianchon, Charles
Binet, Jacques-Philippe-Marie
Möbius, August Ferdinand
Babbage, Charles
Laine, Gabriel
Steiner, Jakob
de Morgan, Augustus
Liouville, Joseph
Shanks, William
Catalan, Eugene Charles
Chu Shih-chieh
Pacioli, Fra Luca
Leonardo da Vinci
Dürer, Albrecht
Hermite, Charles

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More funny exam answers

More funny exam answers…

Lions are cute…
student and teacher draw lion on test exam
It’s not art class, jeez…
drawing on math test

Ohhh linear algebra and giraffes 😀
linear algebra test and giraffe picture

Gotta love batman!!
find the identity of batman by using calculus

Love the story and drawings…
three steps to getting a good mark - step 1 - cheat - step 2 - beg - step 3 - threaten

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A couple of math jokes

Practically every joke has a bar:

  • The number twelve goes into a bar.. and he asks the server for a pint of beer.
  • “Sorry, I can’t serve you,” says the server.
  • “Why the heck not?!” asks the number twelve!
  • “You’re under 18,” replies the server.

Another one which may make sense to some mathematicians:
– Several scientists were all asked the following question: “What is pi ?”
– The engineer said: “It is approximately 3 and 1/7”
– The physicist said: “It is 3.14159”
– The mathematician thought a bit, and replied “It is equal to pi”.

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Wolfram Alpha Homework Day

Wolfram|Alpha homework day is TODAY! Go check it out at their site. Throughout Homework Day, Stephen Wolfram and rest of the team will answer tough questions and highlight some of the creative submissions from students (and teachers). You can send them questions throughout the day (and could be eligible for prizes). It lasts from noon – 2am.


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Funny Exam Answers

More funny exam answers…

The first one is where a student answers “C” for every answer, but it was a true/false test so only answers “A” and “B” applied, LOL… see the remark from the prof below.

test exam fail always pick c
Oh dear…
test exam fail because he slept with his bosses wife

Nice! 100%, gotta love it.

perfect score on test but weird answers

Lovely circus picture!

circus picture drawn on final test exam

Okay, not math related but I love the tv show “The Office”…
thats what she said detention notice

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Guide to writing a math proof

Need help writing a proof? Need to give your ‘kids’ some guidelines? Then check out:

How to write proofs: a quick guide

Written by Eugenia Cheng, who is at the University of Chicago.

In it you will find:

1 What does a proof look like?
2 Why is writing a proof hard?
3 What sort of things do we try and prove?
4 The general shape of a proof
5 What doesn’t a proof look like?
6 Practicalities: how to think up a proof
7 Some more specific shapes of proofs
8 Proof by contradiction
9 Exercises: What is wrong with the following proofs”?

This is a very helpful resource and available freely on Eugenia’s website (at least for now…)

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FailAds is a site that has some funny pictures of advertisements. This particular one is someone looking for a math tudor:

math-tudar-tutor.jpgYou can visit their site for a collection of other epic fail ads, funny pictures of Engrish, pwned, Tshirts, signs, magazine ads, instructions, packaging and lots more.

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Tower Stack game strategy (aka tower bricks, tower blocks)

Hey guys, there is this game called “Tower Stack” or “Tower Bricks” or “Tower Blocks” (among other names) and you can play it on Facebook, or MindJolt Games, or Brothersoft Games (etc).
Here is a screenshot to show what I am talking about:

What you have to do is:

  • – build tower as tall as possible
  • – blocks swing at top and you click mouse to drop them
  • – block will fall after you click and it MUST land on top of the block that you dropped previously (otherwise you lose a “life” – you have 3 “lives”)
  • – if you drop PERFECTLY on top, you get bonus points
  • – as the tower gets bigger, it starts to shake back and forth making it harder to drop the blocks on top

Okay, let’s do the first block. Just drop it anywhere on the platform as shown below.

Now drop the second block on top (see image below).

You now have 200 points, 100 from dropping the first block, and 100
from dropping the second block. Notice the 2 on the bottom left of the
screen – that records the # of blocks dropped so far. Theoretically, you could go on forever dropping the blocks in this fashion scoring 100 points per drop. But as mentioned above you could get bonus points if you drop it perfectly on top as shown below:

Here we got 200 points instead of 100! Let’s do another perfect drop:

Wowzers! 250 this time, instead 100 or 200! If we mess up it goes back to 100 as shown below:

Get 4 in a row and it’s 300 points for that 4th block:

Get 6 in a row and it’s 400 points for that 6th block:

So let’s do some math! Basically the scoring works as follows:

Imperfect drops score:
100 points

Perfect drops score as follows:
(# perfect blocks in a row, score for that block)
(1, 100)
(2, 200)
(3, 250)
(4, 300)
(5, 350)
(6, 400)
(7, 450)
(8, 500)

(n, 50n + 100)

What this means is that if you have n-1 perfect drops in a row, on the n’th perfect drop you will score an amazing 50n+100 points! (Note that for simplicity, we take the convention that the first drop was perfect).

Obviously one can figure out the optimal strategy now. If you keep getting imperfect drops, then you only get 100 points per drop:

But if you keep getting perfect drops you will score HUGE points on each drop. Below I had 19 perfect drops, so on that drop I got an outstanding 1050. If I get another perfect drop after that, the next one will be worth 1100.

It gets harder as you get lots of blocks. In the final image below I made it up to 132 blocks, but I didn’t score that high because I just couldn’t get in the rhythm of successive perfect drops.

So the question you should ask yourself is:
how high of a score can you get?
Well, let’s assume you only have 100 blocks to drop until it becomes too hard and the game ends.

(i) If you do 100 imperfect drops, each drop will be worth 100 points. Thus, the score would amount to:

10,000 points.

(ii) On the contrary, what if you have a perfect game so far. Then you would receive the following points:

100 + 200 + 250 + 300 + 350 + 400 + 450 + …

Can you see what the last number will be in this sum?
If you said 5100 then you are right! This is the number of points you would get on the 100’th drop, and you can use the formula I presented to you above: 50n + 100.

Do you remember how to add up sums of numbers? Let’s do it in general. Let’s say you get n perfect drops in a row. How many total points would you get from those n drops? The total is:

This just follows from the sum formulas that you may have learned in either high school or university (note that the formula 50n+100 only works for n>=2, that’s why we started the summation at 2). It’s okay if you forgot the sum formulas or don’t follow all the steps. The main point is that, if you get n PERFECT drops in a row the TOTAL number of points you will score is 25(n^2 + 5n – 2). Let’s do an example. If n=5 then the total score you will have after 5 perfect drops is: 1200.

If you get 100 perfect drops in a row (which is possible!) then your total score will be:


That’s an amazing score! I checked facebook and people have like 1,600,000, which seems totally impossible, but if you get 200 perfect drops in a row you’re looking at a score of over 1,000,000. Now, mathematically it’s possible, but come on!! Who is going to play a game for that long and be that dedicated to get so many perfect drops! I call cheats/hacks! (if it’s a real score then I’m truly jealous)!

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xkcd comic – airports

xkcd has a decent comic up today about airports… (decent in comparison to previous comics):

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Balloon boy fail (do the math)

Ya so I keep hearing about this balloon boy… although I haven’t actually read any news articles on it, so based on headlines I keep seeing this is what I suspect happened:

– Richard Heene makes experimental helium balloon
– Heene & wife freakout since their “son” may be in the basket
– crapload of publicity, balloon comes down, son not in there
– son was actually in the Heene house attic all along
– 4chan delivers pizza to balloon boy
– news now reporting the stunt was a hoax
– charges filed against Heene

So what does this have anything to do with math? Well I came across this post about someone doing the “math behind the balloon boy story“. Basically they do some fancy calculations to see if it was ever possible for such a crappy balloon to lift a small boy:

Was it ever even possible that a 20′ x 5′ helium balloon could lift
the weight of a six-year-old to 8,000 feet MSL? Let’s take a look at
some numbers. Taking Falcon Heene’s father at his reported word, the
balloon that news helicopters followed for two hours Thursday (because
they thought Falcon was aboard) was 20 feet by five feet. We don’t know
if that included the compartment at the bottom — so let’s be
conservative and assume it did not.”

You can find the rest of the post here.

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