oops: got the maths wrong first time – this is the corrected version Last weekend was said to be one of the worst in the history of English bookmakers (I know, your heart bleeds) as for the first time ever all seven top teams in the English premiership won – so ensuring a lot of… Read More So, how good are the English premiership top seven?
There are a class of mathematical problems known as “P”: these can be solved in “polynomial time” or, to cut to the chase, they are problems for which we know how (algorithmically) to solve when we see them. A trivial example is -if you are given a number X, how do you calculate Y which… Read More A further suggestion that P!=NP
One (smallish) point I left out of my discussion of opinion polling a few days ago was that the “margin of error” for a 95% confidence interval varies according to the reported score. This range of possible error is actually highest for parties or opinions that score 50% – which is more or less where… Read More A further point about Scottish referendum polls
In my previous discussion on the Riemann Sphere I talked of it as a closed sphere of infinite extent, but it can also be represented as a sphere of finite extent. In this case imagine a sphere centred on the origin and of unit radius. Then any complex number can be represented as a point… Read More More on the Riemann sphere
This entry is based on the prologue for the book Elliptic Tales: Curves, Counting, and Number Theory (challenging but quite fun reading on the morning Tube commute!): is the familiar equation for the unit circle and in the prologue the authors show how a straight line with a rational slope intersects a circle at two… Read More y^2 + x^2 = 1
The Language of Mathematics: making the invisible visible Although I want to warmly recommend this book, it is not what I expected when I started reading it – another popular explanation of maths that just might contain an insight or two. Instead it is much more like a tour d’horizon of a first year of… Read More Maths or physics ‘A’ level student? Then read this book…
I am trying to read too many books at the moment, and one of them is Keith Devlin’s fascinating, but occasionally infuriating The Language of Mathematics: Making the Invisible Visible. The book skates through mathematical concepts at a dizzying speed – often pausing only briefly to explain them. It is allowed to do this, it… Read More Some questions about group theory