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 →

In Praise of Collaboration Take a look at an extraordinary collaboration in discrete geometry and related geometrical mathematics, the collaboration of Branko Grünbaum and Geoffrey Colin Shephard. Joe Malkevitch York College (CUNY) Introduction Point and line do many activities together—their collaborations create a rich texture for many mathematicians and geometers,Read More →

Just as a YouTube algorithm might recommend videos with more and more extremist views, machine learning techniques applied to crime data can magnify existing injustice. … Ursula Whitcher AMS | Mathematical Reviews, Ann Arbor, Michigan What is predictive policing? Predictive policing is a law enforcement technique in which officers chooseRead More →

Tony Phillips’ Column Archive Here are Tony Phillips’ older Feature Columns. Tony’s newest columns may be found here. November 2020 – Completing the Square (History of Mathematics) May 2019 – Topology and Elementary Electric Circuit Theory, II: Duality (Geometry and Topology, Math and the Sciences) October 2018 – Topology andRead More →