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Author Archives: mzspivey
Arguments for 0.9999… Being Equal to 1
Recently I tried to explain to my 11yearold son why 0.9999… equals 1. The standard arguments for (at least the ones I’ve seen) assume more math background than he has. So I tried another couple of arguments, and they seemed … Continue reading
Posted in arithmetic, number theory
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Diversity Statements in Hiring
Recently Abigail Thompson, chair of the mathematics department at the University of California, Davis, and a vice president of the American Mathematical Society, published this article in Notices of the American Mathematical Society. The article includes the following statement: Faculty … Continue reading
Posted in campus issues, diversity, politics
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Finding the Area of an Irregular Polygon
Finding the area of an irregular polygon via geometry can be a bit of a chore, as the process depends heavily on the shape of the polygon. It turns out, however, that there’s a formula that can give you the … Continue reading
Posted in analytic geometry, calculus, Green's Theorem
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An observation on the unit circle
We did a quick review of the unit circle in my multivariate calculus class last week, and I pointed out a fact about the sines and cosines of the common angles in the first quadrant that some of the students … Continue reading
Posted in trigonometry
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Zeno’s Paradoxes
The ancient Greek philosopher Zeno of Elea is known for proposing several paradoxes related to time, space, motion, and infinity. In this post we’ll focus on one of Zeno’s paradoxes and discuss how some ideas associated with calculus might or … Continue reading
Posted in calculus, infinity, logic, paradoxes, real analysis, sequences and series
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Five Theses on Mathematics in Games
This past weekend I gave a talk entitled “Mathematics Through Narrative” at the NarraScope conference on narrative games at MIT in Boston. Much of what I discussed I had also put into a series of blog posts several months ago. … Continue reading