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Math Historian Saw Decimals in 1440s Treatise and Freaked Out

Glen Van Brummelen uncovers earliest known use of decimal to indicate base-10 number system

(Newser) - How old is the decimal? It's a question you've probably never pondered but one that has fascinated certain historians. Fascinated isn't overstating it. When Glen Van Brummelen, a historian of mathematics at Canada's Trinity Western University, spotted a decimal used to indicate tenths of a number...

After Test Results, Ed Secretary Calls for 'Math Revolution'

PISA results show 33% of US students lack basic math proficiency

(Newser) - The first assessment of global achievement in math since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic reveals further evidence of what some are calling a "crisis" in US education. The average math score for American students taking part in Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) exams fell to 465 out...

Math Problem Cracked After 90 Years

Mathematicians solved a 'Ramsey' graph problem that's baffled many for decades

(Newser) - Unless you dabble in advanced math, r(4,t) probably doesn't mean much to you. But to the delight of mathematicians across the globe, researchers cracked this "Ramsey problem," which has baffled great minds for decades. reports that the findings of University of California San Diego...

Schools Screen for Dyslexia. 'Dyscalculia,' Not So Much

Hundreds of thousands of students have learning disabilities that make math harder

(Newser) - Nationwide, hundreds of thousands of students face challenges learning math due to disabilities like dyscalculia, a neurodevelopmental learning disorder caused by differences in parts of the brain that are involved with numbers and calculations. There are often obstacles to getting help, and America's schools have long struggled to identify...

Today's College Freshmen Are 'Almost Damaged'

Instructors raise the alarm about math deficiencies, blame the pandemic

(Newser) - College students across the country are grappling with a fundamental problem as they arrive on campus—basic math. At many universities, engineering and biology majors are struggling to grasp fractions and exponents. More students are being placed into pre-college math, starting a semester or more behind for their majors. As...

Combining Math, Music Study Boost Student Test Scores

A half century of research went into drawing this conclusion

(Newser) - Jazz great Duke Ellington once said music "is as modern as tomorrow" and "endless as ... mathematics." Scientists who combed through 50 years of research might tell the Duke he was onto something. While past research had noted the connection between musical inclination and math ability, a new...

Pi Gets the Glory. What About Feigenbaum's Constant Delta?

On Pi Day, math professor suggests other numbers we might celebrate

(Newser) - Pi Day is upon us again—March 14, aka 3/14, aka the first three numbers in the famous mathematical constant. Here is a look at what celebrants need to know and eat:
  • Fitting tribute: There is lots of talk about delicious pies on this day, but University of Maryland math

Test Scores for US Students Are 'Appalling'
Test Scores for US
Students Are 'Appalling'
the rundown

Test Scores for US Students Are 'Appalling'

Drops recorded in math and reading, and the pandemic is blamed

(Newser) - A federal assessment of US students known as the "nation's report card" is out, and the results are pretty bleak. Scores are down in reading and math—especially math—across the country, with the pandemic blamed for wreaking havoc on education. Details:
  • The test: The National Assessment of

Just One Teen on the Planet Aced This Test

Felix Zhang of Indiana apparently knows his calculus

(Newser) - On planet Earth, some 270,000 students took the AP Calculus AB exam in May 2022. About 20% of them scored a 5, which is the highest score possible. But Felix Zhang did something no one else did: The Indiana high schooler got a perfect score. Then a sophomore at...

'Nation's Report Card' Offers 'Sobering' Pandemic Update

Kids' math, reading scores took an unprecedented hit over the past 2 years

(Newser) - It's undisputed that kids had a rough time of it during the pandemic. Now, results from national tests show just how rough, at least in terms of how their academic skills have suffered. The "nation's report card"—ie, the National Assessment of Educational Progress—was released...

Mathematician Snags Richest Prize for His 'Alien' Equations

Martin Hairer among those to get $3M a 'Breakthrough' award

(Newser) - A researcher once said that a theory related to a branch of math dealing with random processes was so impressive, it must have come from aliens . It was actually the work of Martin Hairer, who has now been awarded the richest prize in academia, reports the Guardian . Hairer was named...

Tribune Wrote About Jeopardy! Whiz ... When He Was 4

Paper digs up article on James Holzhauer

(Newser) - Long before he was racking up win after win —and oodles of cash—on Jeopardy!, James Holzhauer was impressing an entirely different demographic: his preschool teachers. The Chicago Tribune has unearthed an article that appeared in its pages in January 1989, when Holzhauer was just 4 years old and...

A Cubed Number Puzzle Is Solved. Only One Is Left

UK's Andrew Booker figures out which three cubed numbers add up to 33

(Newser) - For more than half a century, modern mathematicians have been trying to crack two stubborn numbers problems—and a UK professor just solved one of them. As Live Science explains, the problem itself seems fairly straight-forward: Which three cubed numbers add up to 33? The University of Bristol's Andrew...

First Woman Ever Wins Math's Version of the 'Nobel Prize'

Karen Keskulla Uhlenbeck of the University of Texas at Austin is honored

(Newser) - For the first time ever, a woman has won the Abel Prize, which the Guardian calls one of the most prestigious international mathematics awards. In fact, there is no Nobel Prize for math , and the Abel Prize is seen by some as the equivalent of the Nobel. Karen Keskulla Uhlenbeck...

The World Has a New Pi Champ
The World Has
a New Pi Champ
the Rundown

The World Has a New Pi Champ

Google's Emma Iwao calculates it to 31 trillion digits

(Newser) - It's Pi Day, the 3/14 celebration of perhaps the most famous number in history. Google is celebrating with a record-breaking feat: One of its employees calculated pi to 31 trillion digits, 9 trillion more than the previous record, with help from cloud computing, reports the BBC . Emma Hauka Iwao...

Solution to Math Problem Begins in Unexpected Place

Anonymous 4chan user was answering question about binge-watching anime show

(Newser) - It might be the strangest journey to the solution of a math conundrum ever. It turns out that an anonymous post on the online forum 4chan about how to watch a Japanese anime series may have helped crack a 25-year-old math problem, reports the Verge . Not surprisingly, this one takes...

He May Have Solved a $1M Math Problem
His $1M Math Solution
Isn't Going Over Well
in case you missed it

His $1M Math Solution Isn't Going Over Well

Michael Atiyah must convince colleagues that he cracked a 159-year-old problem

(Newser) - Michael Atiyah is an acclaimed mathematician who has won some of the top prizes in his field, and he now claims to have cracked a 159-year-old problem called the Riemann hypothesis. If he's right, Atiyah wins even more acclaim—plus a $1 million prize. But before the bubbly is...

He Won Math's Most Coveted Prize. 30 Minutes Later, It Was Gone

Rio thief made off with professor's Fields medal

(Newser) - Algebraic geometry, particularly problems involving singularities and linear systems, is Caucher Birkar's specialty. Hanging on to medals apparently isn't. The renowned Cambridge professor had his Fields medal—known as the Nobel Prize of mathematics—stolen within 30 minutes of receiving it at the International Congress of Mathematics in...

Babies May Not Get the Concept of 'Zero,' but Bees Do

Researchers amazed that honeybees can grasp the abstract construct of 'nothing'

(Newser) - Dolphins, monkeys, birds, and homo sapiens have a shared understanding of a quite difficult concept, and now honeybees are joining the party. Per a release , that concept is "zero," an abstract mathematical construct that scientists say stumps humans until at least preschool , but which they now note is...

5th-Grade Exam Question Leaves Internet Stumped
5th-Grade Exam
Question Leaves
Internet Stumped
in case you missed it

5th-Grade Exam Question Leaves Internet Stumped

Education department says problem was meant to assess critical thinking

(Newser) - "If a ship had 26 sheep and 10 goats on board, how old is the ship's captain?" Stumped? So are fifth-grade students in China's Shunqing district of Nanchong, where the aforementioned question appeared on a math exam for the 11-year-olds. Some gave their best guesses, with one...

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