Pseudonyms in Mathematics Why would there be pseudonyms for the publication of research papers in mathematics? One possible motive might be… that a group of people collaborated on a piece of work and wanted to simplify the multiple authorship to a single name. Another reason appears to be playfulness orRead More →

Completing the Square The prehistory of the quadratic formula Completing the square is the essential ingredient in the generation of our handy quadratic formula. And for all the years before the formula existed, that was how quadratic equations were solved… Tony Phillips Stony Brook University Quadratic equations have been consideredRead More →

Pooling strategies for COVID-19 testing How could 10 tests yield accurate results for 100 patients? David Austin Grand Valley State University While the COVID-19 pandemic has brought tragedy and disruption, it has also provided a unique opportunity for mathematics to play an important and visible role in addressing a pressingRead More →

Sensitivity, Specificity, and COVID-19 Testing As every doctor should know, medical tests are rarely 100% accurate. Interpreting them is a matter of probability. And probability, of course, is a matter of mathematics… Bill Casselman University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada Well, make up your mind. Does he have it orRead 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 →

Transmitting Data with Polar Codes This then is the significance of Arikan’s polar codes: they provide encodings for an important class of channels that enable us to transmit information at the greatest possible rate and with an arbitrarily small error rate. … David Austin Grand Valley State University Introduction WirelessRead More →

Mathematics and the Family Tree of SARS-Cov-2 It’s a remarkable process and, if it weren’t so dangerous to humanity, would be deserving of admiration. … Bill Casselman University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada Introduction There are two major ways in which mathematics has contributed to our understanding of the diseaseRead More →

Points, Lines, and Incidences To honor Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month, I will treat some remarkable developments concerning a basic intuitive idea in geometry concerning points and lines. … Joseph Malkevitch York College (CUNY Introduction When people think about mathematics they think of numbers and shapes. Numbers covers the interestRead More →