Monthly Archives: April 2016

Near Miss, Curiosa Mathematica, and Poincaré

Welcome to this week’s Math Munch!

For this last Thursday of April, we’ll be taking a look at some recent posts from our facebook page. Craig Kaplan writes about “near miss” polyhedra, a Pythagorean gif takes us to an curious math blog, and we find a beautiful portrait of a great mathematician.  Let’s go!

Craig Kaplan

Craig Kaplan

First is an article from a wonderful mathematician and mathematical artist by the name of Craig Kaplan. His name has popped up on Math Munch before (1, 2 ,3), in case it sounds familiar. You can check out Craig’s stuff on his website, Isohedral, or download his really great game, “Good Fences,” which I have on my iPhone.

near missWhat I really wanted to share, however was Craig’s writing on “A New Near Miss.” This is a polyhedron that almost is… but just isn’t. It looks pretty good, but it can’t be. You’ll have to read to see what I mean.

PythagorasPerigalP.gifUp next, I found this little gif on our facebook page, and I absolutely loved it. It demonstrates the Pythagorean Theorem which says that as long as that’s a right triangle there, the big square on bottom is exactly as big as the two smaller squares combined. The animation shows you how to chop up the middle-sized square and recombine it with the small one to make the big one. I knew there were demonstrations/proofs like this, but this one opened my eyes to something I didn’t quite know before.

This gif sent me off on a journey through the internet to track down the source, and it led me to a site called Curiosa Mathematica. It’s a math blog featuring lots of random math goodies. There’s lots to see and get into (much like Math Munch). Here’s a quote I found there.  I hope you find something you like too.

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Finally, I was really taken by this piece of art (below). It’s a portrait of French mathematician Henri Poincaré, and it was drawn by Bill Sanderson. I can’t find much info on Bill, but WOW the piece is so cool. I love how he’s surrounded by his mathematical creations. I was hoping he had done more, and I did find a couple more (below), but not all I had hoped for.


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French Mathematician Henri Poincaré

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Alan Turing

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Isaac Newton

Have some illustrative talent? I’d love to see your mathematician’s portrait. Feel free to send us something… anything.

I hope you enjoy your weekend and find something tasty out there in the mathematical interwebs. Bon appetit!

Mobiles, Mathematical Objects, and Math Magazine

Welcome to this week’s Math Munch!

Before we start, a little business. You may have noticed that posts have been few and far between lately. Those of you who know us, the members of the Math Munch Team, know that we’ve all made a lot of life changes in the past year or two. We started out together teaching in the same school in New York– but now we live on far corners of the country and spend our time doing very different things. In case you’re curious, here are some pictures of the things we’ve been up to!


Justin’s genus 19, rotationally symmetric surface

But even though we’ve moved apart physically, we’ve decided that we really want to keep the Math Munch Team together. We LOVE sharing our love of math with you– and we love hearing from you about the amazing things you make and do with math, too.

So, we’ve decided to revamp our posting process and came up with a schedule for when you can expect posts. There will be a new post every Thursday. (Though if Anna is posting from the West Coast, it might come out in the wee hours of Friday morning for some of you!) And here’s the monthly schedule of Thursday posts:

  • The first Thursday of the month will be a post from Justin
  • The second Thursday of the month will be a rerun!! Did you know we have over 150 posts on this site?? And we’ve been posting for almost five years??
  • The third Thursday of the month will be a post from Anna
  • The last Thursday of the month will be a post from Paul

And for those mysterious months with five Thursdays (ooh, when will that be, I wonder?)… There will be a surprise!

And now… for some math!

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 1.44.50 AMFirst up is a little game called SolveMe Mobiles! This game is full of little puzzles in which you have to figure out what each of the different shapes in a mobile weighs. You’re given different clues in different puzzles. So, for instance, in the puzzle to the left, you’re given the weight of the red circle and you have to figure out how much a blue triangle is. But you’re not given the weight of the whole mobile… Hmmm…

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 1.53.04 AMAnd this one, to the right, gives you the weight of one of the shapes and of the whole mobile– but now there are three shapes! Tricky!

Even better, you can build your own mobile puzzle for others to solve! I made this one, shown below– like my use of a mobile within a mobile?

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Next up, I found a beautiful Tumblr account that I’d like to share with you full of pictures of found mathematical objects. It’s called… Mathematical Objects! (How clever.) The author of the site writes that the aim of the blog is to “show that mathematics, aside from its practicality, is also culturally significant. In other words, mathematics not only makes the trains run on time but also fundamentally influences the way we view the world.


“Counting to One Hundred with my Four-Color Pen”

tumblr_n07pvisVvm1rnwsgbo2_1280Some of the images are mathematical art, like the one above; others are more “practical,” such as plans for buildings or images drawn from science.

Do you ever see an interesting mathematical object in the wild and feel the urge to take a picture of it? If so, go ahead and send it to us! We’d love to see what you find.

I’m very excited to share this last find with you all. It was sent to me by a wonderful math teacher, Mark Dittmer, and his math students. This year, they were inspired by Math Munch to make their own fun online math sites! I think what they made is super awesome– and I want to share it with you. I’ll be featuring some of their work in my next few posts, one thing at a time to give each its own day in the sun. First up is this adorable adventure story about the residents of Number Land. I hope you enjoy it!

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Bon appétit!