Essential Math Weblog Thoughts on math for games

12/11/2005

Some Fun Science and Math Links

Filed under: General — Jim @ 10:13 pm

I had originally intended on writing up a post about some of the science and math I’ve been seeing on TV lately. However, as I got into it, I realized it was going to end up too long, too verbose and (more importantly) without a point. A boring rant for ranting’s sake, if you will. So… y’all (or youse guys, if you prefer) get this post instead: a series of fun math- and science-related links which provide a nice diversion on slow days.

I like cop shows, and I like math, so of course I watch Numb3rs. Surprisingly, the math/computer science content isn’t too bad for a major network drama (don’t get me started on CSI), and it gets me looking into areas or applications of areas I hadn’t considered before. Even better, I recently discovered that a professor at Northeastern University has started a blog covering the math presented on the show. This can be quite helpful as David Krumholtz’ character often will breeze over a concept. I understand this is so the lay audience can get the sense of something without overwhelming them with formulas, but it’s nice to find a source that provides a little more depth and background information.

I also watch NOVA. Recently they did a program on Einstein’s famous formula E = mc^2, covering the history of each part of the equation as well as Einstein’s personal history. The associated website is more in-depth, and then of course there is the book that the program was based on. Looking at the reviews on Amazon it might be a little lighter than I might like, but I’ll probably pick it up and take a look. But the author (David Bodanis) has another book that actually looks more interesting, called The Secret House, which has a sample of the opening chapter here. I learned a lot more about the chemical properties of lipstick than I ever knew — and I’m not sure whether I want to show it to my wife or not.

Finally, for those who like stories about math, there’s the Mathematical Fiction Homepage. It’s definitely fun to dig through if you’re into that sort of thing (which I am). The non-short story and novel connections seem a bit tenuous at times, but it’s a fun diversion during a slow debugging or compile session. The only sad part is that I found that I have all of the short story collections listed already. I guess I’ll just start writing my own stories. I’ve got all that time between compiles, after all…

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