Questions tagged [mathematics]

Mathematics is the science of numbers and shapes. Mathematics may also be considered a formal language to describe physics.

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Exaustion method was forbidden by religious belief?

Eudoxus developed the exhaustion method for calculating areas that continued with Archimedes and then only in the 16th century with Stevin and Cavalieri. Why did it take so long? Was there any ...
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1 vote
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Will there be more than 11 million job openings related to Data Science in India by 2026?

This Career Outlook for Data Scientist article claims that analyst predict that there will be more than 11 million job openings by 2026 in the field of data science. Does this claim makes sense given ...
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-3 votes
1 answer
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Is the size of the territory of a country purely random? [closed]

I read a blog post that attempts to show that the size of the territory of a country is purely random and therefore bears no major historical significance. The argumentation (simplified a bit) is as ...
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Is "Magic: The Gathering" the world's most complicated game?

For this question we stablish games as officially recognized board or card games. Several sources stablish that game as the most complicated one, although it does so by mentioning that a computer was ...
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Have mathematicians concluded that an Indian mathematical physicist has solved the Riemann Hypothesis?

The Riemann Hypothesis is a mathematical hypothesis that describes the distribution of prime numbers. It is one of the seven Millennium Problems put forth by the Clay Mathematics Institute, notorious ...
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78 votes
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Did Euler make the elementary mistake √-2 √-3 = √6?

The following extract is from Tristan Needham's Visual Complex Analysis, Even in 1770 the situation was still sufficiently confused that it was possible for so great a mathematician as Euler to ...
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Are there many per capitas? [closed]

Politico quotes Donald Trump : Just this past week, Trump reveled in a mental list he has been keeping of how many tests the U.S. has conducted, approaching 14 million, in comparison with other ...
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57 votes
3 answers
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Did Roman jurists rule that "to learn the art of geometry and to take part in public exercises, an art as damnable as mathematics, are forbidden"?

According to Morris Kline, author of Mathematics for the Nonmathematician (1967): Roman jurists ruled, under the Code of Mathematicians and Evil-Doers, that "to learn the art of geometry and to ...
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54 votes
4 answers
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Is Chika Ofili's method for checking divisibility for 7 a "new discovery" in math?

Chika Ofili, a 12-year-old Nigerian boy based in the United Kingdom, has received the ‘TruLittle Hero Awards’ for discovering a new mathematical formula. Source According to the above website (and ...
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Does putting a tiny electrical current across the parietal lobe boosts maths ability?

A 2010 BBC article says: Applying a tiny electrical current to the brain could make you better at learning maths, according to Oxford University scientists. They found that targeting a part of the ...
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21 votes
2 answers
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Did the precedence of operations in arithmetic change since 1917?

The internet has been so bored lately that it spent most of the week arguing about a simple math statement. That statement: 8 ÷ 2(2+2) = ? Mostly, people are arguing that the answer is either 16 or ...
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Are these occurences of the mathematical constants e and pi in The Bible at all exceptional? [closed]

This article translates the first verses of Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1, into Hebrew and Greek numeric values, then uses a single formula on both to get good approximations for e and pi, each times large ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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Is the use of X for unknown quantities taken from the Arabic word "shay"?

In this TED Talk, the speaker says that the use of X for unknown quantities was the result of Spanish people taking the Arabic word shay (meaning "thing"), which was used by Arabs to denote unknown ...
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Does Heads Up Texas Hold'em have more possible hands than atoms in the universe?

In the Vice (HBO) clip AI Poker Bots Are Beating The World's Best Players, it is claimed (at 2:00), that Texas Hold'em has "more possible hands than atoms in the universe". ..this competition ...
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Would a hypothetical introduction of 2 swimming pools per second of water result in 6 inches of sea level rise this century?

A recent CBS News article, Climate Diaries: The hottest climate science in the world's coldest place quotes Joe MacGregor, the chief scientist of NASA's Operation IceBridge mission: "Presently, ...
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Was Aryabhatta the first to invent place value system and zero?

I was shocked when I read on a blog that Aryabahatta, an Indian guy born in 476 AD discovered zero. Surely people knew about zero before that. But his greatest contribution has to be ZERO, for ...
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7 votes
2 answers
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Was there a person made the quote about poetry that Poincaré responded to?

It is claimed that Henri Poincaré, a well-known mathematician, said this: Mathematics is the art of giving the same name to different things. It is also claimed that that quote was in response to ...
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Did René Descartes develop the Cartesian coordinate system by watching a fly on the ceiling?

René Descartes was a French man who lived in the 1600s. When he was a child, he was often sick, so the teachers at his boarding school let him stay in bed until noon. He went on staying in bed until ...
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16 votes
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Are Asian women better at maths when they think they're competing against European men?

In QI Series L, Espisode 9, Stephen Fry says (source): If there was a maths test between men and women it will be more likely that the men will do better because women are constantly told that ...
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107 votes
5 answers
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Can you predict a number that is "randomly" chosen by a person better than chance?

(https://xkcd.com/628/) If you hover your mouse over the comic for a few second a small tool tip box says: You can do a lot better than 1% if you start keeping track of the patterns in what numbers ...
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9 votes
1 answer
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Is the difference between men and women' estimates of their number of sexual partners caused because men estimate rather than count?

In this Tedx talk about sexy mathematics, Dr Clio Cresswell says that there is an inconsistency between womens' and mens' reports of the number of sexual partners they have had. Now, men report, on ...
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3 votes
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Are left-handed people better at mathematics?

During a math exam, I was told: "You are left-handed, you should become a mathematician." I searched online and, sure enough, there are some web-sites claiming that left-handed people tend to be ...
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40 votes
4 answers
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Did Augustine of Hippo warn Christians to beware mathematicians?

On the first page of Mathematics for the Nonmathematician, mathematician Morris Kline quotes Augustine of Hippo as saying: The good Christian should beware the mathematician and all those who ...
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11 votes
1 answer
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Did 800 people estimate the weight of an ox within 1% in 1906?

According to Wikipedia, At a 1906 country fair in Plymouth, 800 people participated in a contest to estimate the weight of a slaughtered and dressed ox. Statistician Francis Galton observed that ...
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Pedometers / fitness trackers and setting stride length from your height - how accurate? [closed]

Looking at a couple of pedometer instruction leaflets, from different manufacturers, and spotted that they both suggest you can approximate your stride length from your height via the following ...
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Did A&W customers think 1/3 pound burger patties weigh less than 1/4 pound ones?

This Facebook post by 9gag.com makes the claim that customers of A&W thought that A&W's 1/3 pound burgers weighed less than McDonald's 1/4 pound burgers, and preferred to buy the McDonald's ...
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Did Manahel Thabet develop a groundbreaking formula to measure distance in space without the use of light?

I stumbled upon the Wikipedia page of Manahel Thabet recently. Here are some extracts from the Wikipedia page. "At the age of 25, she earned her first PhD in Financial Engineering magna cum laude, ...
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8 votes
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Is being a professional logician associated with serious mental health issues?

In Indiscrete Thoughts, Gian-Carlo Rota claims that: It cannot be a complete coincidence that several outstanding logicians of the twentieth century found shelter in asylums at some point in their ...
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2 votes
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Does the 'B' in 'Benoit B. Mandelbrot' stand for 'Benoit B. Mandelbrot'? [closed]

Decorated mathematician Benoit B. Mandelbrot, who first coined the term fractals, allegedly gave himself the middle initial B, representing again his full name. Did he in fact ever legally adopt ...
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30 votes
1 answer
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Have you shared (one water molecule of) your glass of water with a dinosaur?

I saw on the web: La probabilité que vous buviez un verre d'eau qui contient une molécule d'eau qui est également passée à travers un dinosaure est de quasiment 100%. This translates to: The ...
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4 votes
0 answers
281 views

Was Napoleon right that "there cannot be a great nation without great mathematics"? [closed]

I am teaching mathematics. And I want to collect as many evidences as I can to let my students know that mathematics is very important. Accidentally I got a quote from Napoleon as follows. ...
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3 votes
0 answers
118 views

Summer Mathematics Workbooks for Elementary and Middle School

There is a wide variety of summer mathematics workbooks available for students in elementary and middle school (see here). With summer coming up, these books seem to be available everywhere. Thus my ...
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16 votes
1 answer
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Was Shakuntala Devi able to perform complex computations far faster than the best living human calculators?

I heard about Shakuntala Devi for the first time today, an Indian Savant who allegedly performed such feats as finding the 23rd root of a 201 digit number in 50 seconds, unaided. There seems to be ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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Has knowledge in mathematics in teenagers decreased through time?

I have been told that the level of knowledge in mathematics is much lower today than twenty or fifty years ago. Is it true? I'm looking for statistics that present the level of knowledge in ...
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25 votes
1 answer
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Is there no Nobel Prize for Mathematics because of an act of infidelity?

The Berkeley Daily Planet reports one rumour I heard: The one Nobel Prize you won’t hear announced is for Mathematics―because, in contrast to Chemistry, Physics, and Literature, there is no ...
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1 answer
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Is it possible for Armavir to see ballistic missile over Mediterranean (how high was it)? [closed]

Some time ago there were several statements about missile launch detection over the Midterranean using russian Station Armavir: http://rbth.ru/science_and_tech/2013/09/09/...
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Is golden ratio the most aesthetically pleasing ratio? [duplicate]

I have read several claims in all kinds of literature (both scientific, less scientific and downwards anti-scientific) about golden ratio and its "aesthetics". However, all the "proofs" I have seen ...
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3 votes
1 answer
1k views

Is it possible to generate all photos ever taken by random sequencing of bits? [closed]

All JPGS, pngs etc are basically just sequences of bits. Is it possible to generate these by making a program that generates random sequences of bits? For example say that the sequence 100010111 is ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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Can a body be dissolved by a few liters or gallons of Hydrofluoric acid?

In the "Cat's in the Bag..." episode of Season 1 of "Breaking Bad," characters are shown with 4 gallon-jugs of Hydrofluoric Acid that they use to dissolve 2 adult corpses. Chemistry is a major plot ...
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8 votes
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Is it possible to solve problems without active thinking?

I am a mathematics major and I constantly hear people (including my professors) saying that when you are not actively thinking about a given problem and playing tennis for instance your subconscious ...
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32 votes
2 answers
8k views

Did the Ancient Egyptians use twenty-sided dice?

Ancient d20 die emerges from the ashes of time Many centuries before Dungeons & Dragons was even a glimmer in the eye of Gary Gygax, ancient Egyptians were rolling a d20 die. Metropolitan ...
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27 votes
1 answer
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Did only a handful of people in Europe know how to do division before the 13th century?

Nicholas Nassem Taleb's latest book (Antifragile) continues to provide fascinating unreferenced claims. In the middle of an argument that much of the important knowledge in the world is practical, ...
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6 votes
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Did Abraham de Moivre Predict His Own Death?

According to the website I was perusing, found here, it stated that a mathematician named Abraham de Moivre, predicted the date of his own death (using some nonsensical method of when he had slept for ...
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26 votes
2 answers
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Do higher mathematical abilities inversely correlate with good communication skills?

There is a persistent stereotype that geeks (let's formally define that as people a couple of standard deviations better than average in math, computers or other related abilities) as a whole have ...
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10 votes
5 answers
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Is poker more a game of skill than chance?

I just read a NY Times article which claims that a US Judge ruled that poker is a game of skill and not one of chance. In a ruling that goes to the heart of what it means to play poker, Judge Jack ...
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14 votes
2 answers
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Did Jason Padgett become a math genius after getting hit on the head?

There have been some news reports about a college dropout, Jason Padgett, becoming a math genius after getting hit on the head. Could this be true or how much of this could be true?
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16 votes
1 answer
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Can Bruce Bueno de Mesquita predict the future with mathematics?

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita is called the "New Nostradamus". According to his claims he is able to predict (and has predicted) big economic events such as the 2009 economic crisis. Supposedly he has a ...
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9 votes
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Does counting with fingers diminish the ability to work with numbers in the future for children?

There is a belief that says children who count with the aid of their fingers will be prone to having problems in math in the later years to come. Is this belief true?
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18 votes
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Do Imperial units make United States children worse at maths?

It is claimed on Cracked.com: There's also some evidence that our jalopy measurement system [imperial, ndr] is part of what's making U.S. students bad at math. In Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers, he ...
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Do number systems in native languages affect math performance?

This blog post said that Asians are good at math because Asian languages have less-confusing number systems: So if it’s not the schools, what accounts for Asians succeeding in math across different ...
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