Pennies, Knights, and Origami Mazes

Welcome to this week’s Math Munch!

How many pennies do you think this is? Click to find out.

Big numbers are sometimes hard to get a feel for.  A billion is a lot, but so is a million.  The MegaPenny Project is a cool attempt at making the difference between large numbers easier to grasp.  Would 1,000,000 pennies fill a football field or would you need a billion pennies for that?  MegaPenny can help you figure it out.

The first kixote puzzle

Next up, we have kixote, a puzzle in the spirit of Sudoku and Ken-Ken, but involving knight’s moves.  Dan Mackinnon–its creator–has a blog called mathrecreation that he says, “helps me go a little further in my mathematical recreations, helps me understand things better, and sometimes connects me to other people who share similar interests. I hope that it might encourage you to play with math too.”  I’m sure we’ll be linking to more of Dan’s posts in the future!

Finally, since the mazes and paper-folding were so popular last week, we thought that this week we would share some paper-folding mazes! Here is a clip of MIT professor Erik Demaine talking about how he has created origami mazes, preceded by a discussion of origami robots that fold themselves!  The clip is a part of a lecture about origami that Erik gave last spring in New York City for the Math Encounters series put on by the Museum of Mathematics.  You can watch Erik’s entire origami lecture from the beginning by clicking here.

Eric Demaine with a sheet of origami cubes

You can also check out Erik’s Maze Folder applet–but if you try it out, take his warning and start with a small maze!

Bon appetit!

Mazes, Spirals, and Paper Folding

Welcome to Math Munch!   Here you will find links to lots of cool mathy things on the internet.  We’ll post some new items each week for you to enjoy.  We hope you are as inspired and excited by these creations as we are!

Maze A Day is a blog where Warren Stokes publishes new mazes he has created.  Every day!  What a cool project.

A number spiral

Here’s another maze that was submitted by truff.

Number Spiral is a website that shares some cool number spirals and some deep patterns that have been found in prime numbers.  I like how the author Robert Stacks both gives a very simple introduction to his work and carries it through to very complex mathematics.

Finally, here is a short video about the work of paper engineer Matt Shlian at the University of Michigan.  A favorite quote: ” I think there’s this great crossover right now between science and art that the art students don’t know anything about and the scientists don’t know that artists are out there that exist that can help them figure out some of these things.”

Bon Appetit!