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Two Puzzle Month November 13, 2006

Posted by Sacha in Mathematics, Puzzles.
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As I mentioned in my last post, I went to a puzzle challenge last weekend.  They had some great puzzles, so I’ve chosen two to be my puzzles of the month. 

The first one is time consuming, but even if you don’t solve the whole thing, the steps along the way are fun to do.  You use pictures and ASL letters to spell out words, then use those words to solve the puzzle.  I can’t link directly to the file because it’s a large .pdf, but go to the puzzle page hereand right click on “Local Wildlife” and choose the save file option.  Maybe your browser will just open the file, but I tried Firefox and IE and neither could do it.  Does anyone know what this type of puzzle is called?  I looked on Wikipedia in the puzzle type list and couldn’t find it. 

The second puzzle I recommend is called Equation Expedition.   This one is quicker and more mathy.   Make sure to read the handwriting on this one.

All the answers are here.

Have fun!

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Math Puzzle Solution October 10, 2006

Posted by Sacha in Mathematics.
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Here’s my solution to the cryptarithm TWO + THREE + THREE = EIGHT:

329 + 38077 + 38077 = 76483 

T – 3
W – 2
O – 9
H – 8
R – 0
E – 7
I – 6
G – 4

Here‘s where the solution should be posted officially, but it’s not up yet.  You can also find new puzzles there every Tuesday and enter your solutions in a contest.  Does anyone know of any other good puzzle sites?

Math Puzzle of the Month October 7, 2006

Posted by Sacha in Mathematics.
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Here is a fun puzzle that I hope math geeks and non-math geeks can both enjoy.  It is a Crytarithm, which, according to the math department at UW (where I stole this from) explains: 

“A crytarithm is a math puzzle where every letter stands for a digit.  Distinct letters stand for distinct digits.”

Here are the letters:

TWO + THREE + THREE = EIGHT

I just finished solving it this evening.  I’ll post my solution after Monday.  This puzzle is being used by the math dept for their challenge of the week, so I wouldn’t want to spoil it for anyone, but after Monday I’d love to see anyone else’s method.  I’m wonder if there is a more efficient way to solve it than what I did (as I suspect there is).

I think it would be fun to post a different puzzle every month, so hopefully I will keep this up. 

I’m Back September 29, 2006

Posted by Sacha in Blogging, Mathematics, Social.
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Gosh… I didn’t realize while I was away [from the computer] for the summer that so many people would stop by.  I feel bad for not reading and responding to your posts… I will do so tomorrow.  In the mean time check out this movie review site from Ben.  I will try in the future to post notices before I go on break.  Tsk, tsk to my etiquette.

I have learned heaps this summer and look forward to sharing it with you all.  I just started an adv. multi-variable calculus class.  I was so thrilled to be in math class – it made me feel like a huge dork, but I’m a math geek and haven’t had a math class in a long time, so it’s way overdue (statistics doesn’t count).  Like being home again.      

I am going to try to find my camera battery charger, so I can post pictures from my garden and worm bin set-up.  I have the coolest postage-stamp garden.  That was one of my summer projects. 

How were your summers? 

Twin Prime Conjecture July 29, 2006

Posted by Sacha in Humor, Mathematics.
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You find the funniest things on the web…  The other night I found this recording while snooping around in the in the on-line NPR archives.  It’s a Nova scienceNOW produced song called “The Twin Prime Conjecture” with music by Rob Morsberger.  Well, anyway, I have been cracking up ever since I heard it and it is by far one of the geekiest things out there.  Have a listen

A prime number is a positive whole number which is only divisible by itself and one.  So, what is the twin prime conjecture?  “There are infinitely many primes p such that p + 2 is also prime.” (Quoted from Wikipedia)  In other words, the sets like (3,5) (11,13) (17,19) … continue to happen with infinitely large prime numbers.  This conjecture may have been around from as early as Euclid’s time (300 BCE).  What made such big news last year was that Goldston, Yildirim, and Pintz published papers proving that there will always be pairs of primes a bound distance apart.  This is a big step in the direction of proving the twin prime conjecture.  Read some of Goldston’s papers here

What I have found really cool about a bunch of news sites lately is that they are set up for discussions.  PBS is no exception.  They have a discussion of twin primes and Goldston has even chimed in.

In addition to this, there are a TON of fabulous podcasts on the NPR Health and Science site.  I highly recommend it for causal and serious nerds alike.  

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