Studying supersymmetry in physically realistic situations requires a tremendous amount of physical and mathematical sophistication. We’re going to simplify as much as possible: all the way down to zero spatial dimensions! Designing supersymmetry Ursula Whitcher Mathematical Reviews (AMS) Mathematicians and physicists both love symmetry, but depending on who you’re talkingRead More →

A remarkable theorem involving decompositions is that if one has two plane simple polygons of the same area, it is possible to decompose either of the polygons into polygonal pieces that can be reassembled to form the other polygon… Geometric Decompositions Joe Malkevitch York College (CUNY) Introduction When looking atRead More →

When we start to think more about it, more questions arise. What makes a line “good”? How do we tell if a line is the “best”? The Origins of Ordinary Least Squares Assumptions Some Are More Breakable Than Others Sara Stoudt Bucknell University Introduction Fitting a line to a setRead More →

Rook Polynomials: A Straight-Forward Problem For an integer $k$, is it possible to place $k$ rooks on a chess board so that no piece sits on the same row or column as any others? We wouldn’t want them stepping on each others’ toes. Thomas Morrill Trine University In the gameRead More →

Alan Turing and the Countability of Computable Numbers Turing’s methodology was unique: he imagined hypothetical machines that could perform complicated mathematical tasks in a deterministic manner, in the way computers do today. In this way, he inadvertently kickstarted the entire field of modern computer science… Adam A. Smith University ofRead More →

Decomposition Mathematics too has profited from the idea that sometimes things of interest might have a structure which allowed them to be decomposed into simpler parts… Joe Malkevitch York College (CUNY) Introduction One way to get insights into something one is trying to understand better is to break the thingRead More →

Meet me up in space! Rather than closing the distance, however, the target seemed to move down and away in defiance of everyday intuition… David Austin Grand Valley State University Complex space missions rely on the ability to bring two spacecraft together, a procedure called orbital rendezvous. A spacecraft dockingRead More →

The Battle of Numbers Our topic is the game called rithmomachia or rithmomachy—literally, the battle of numbers… Ursula Whitcher AMS | Mathematical Reviews, Ann Arbor, Michigan This month, we’re going to explore a very old—indeed, medieval—educational game and correct a mathematical error in a sixteenth-century game manual. But before weRead More →

The Once and Future Feature Column We’re going to look back at the Column’s history, revisit some of our favorite columns, and talk about what comes next. Spoiler alert: We’re recruiting new columnists! Ursula Whitcher AMS | Mathematical Reviews, Ann Arbor, Michigan The number 24 has many charming properties. ForRead More →

An epidemic is a sequence of random events If a contact is made, then whether or not infection is transferred is much like tossing a (loaded) coin. How can a simulation take all this uncertainty into account? Bill Casselman University of British Columbia Just recently, I started thinking about makingRead More →