April 8, 2010

Steven Strogatz

Have you been reading Steven Strogatz's column about math in the NYT? It's a lot of fun, especially for someone like me who was interested in math but hated the homework and missed the good stuff in school. His 28 March column was on functions. Sounds boring, right? Wrong.

Like the best teacherninjas, he makes it fun and interesting. There's a clip from Moonlighting, a gorgeous video of parabolas at play at the Detroit airport and a discussion if the amazing feat then high school junior Britney Gallivan who created a paper folding theorem (above) which put her in the mathematical history books. (When I was a junior I was taking Algebra II for the second time...) She proved it by folding 1200 meters of toilet paper in a mall. It was verified at Caltech, but even better it was replicated by Mythbusters!

Steven Strogatz is amazing and fun. You can find him often on Radiolab. A couple of filmmakers made this video based on a story he told on this episode of Radiolab. And this is also a cool episode about math and our number sense that he's in as well.

Check out all of his columns at NYT. They stat with muppets counting and will continue on through calculus, which I'm sure he'll find a way to make fun and entertaining.

Steven Strogatz: teacherninja.