What is the 'Book of Changes'?

The I Ching serves as a foundation for many Eastern philosophies and Western mathematics.

  • The I Ching is the basis for polymath Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz's binary code and subsequently basis of our digital technology.
  • Psychologist Carl Jung used the Book of Changes to explore notions of synchronicity or "meaningful coincidence."
  • Alan Watts considered the I Ching to be a model that mapped the thinking processes of the human mind.
Keep reading Show less

Why America is bad at math

Research shows that the way math is taught in schools and how its conceptualized as a subject is severely impairing American student's ability to learn and understand the material.

One derivative coming right up... (Photo: Getty Images)
  • Americans continually score either in the mid- or bottom-tier when it comes to math and science compared to their international peers.
  • Students have a fundamental misunderstanding of what math is and what it can do. By viewing it as a language, students and teachers can begin to conceptualize it in easier and more practical ways.
  • A lot of mistakes come from worrying too much about rote memorization and speedy problem-solving and from students missing large gaps in a subject that is reliant on learning concepts sequentially.
Keep reading Show less

After Einstein, We Stopped Believing in Lone Genius. Is It Time to Believe Again?

One prominent mathematician asks: was Einstein such a smartypants after all?

Einstein's theory of relativity revolutionized our view of the universe, positing a space-time continuum undergirding all reality. Equally impactful has been quantum mechanics, which describe the behavior of subatomic particles in ways that differ from observable matter. But both theories have been verified by empirical observation and scientific experiments. String theory, and a select number of other theories that purport to explain the universe in one, all-encompassing equation, remain completely divorced from the physical world. Surely theories about the universe must relate directly to the matter in it?! Did Einstein get it wrong, or has groupthink led us down the wrong path for the last 40 years? Eric Weinstein basically posits that perhaps Einstein's work shouldn't necessarily be as lauded as it is, in part because Einstein himself said that it is a work in progress (or, in his words, "a mansion with a wing made out of marble and a wing made out of cheap wood"). What does this mean for you? Well, to most of the Joe Schmoe's in this world, not much. But if you're deep into theoretical physics and super advanced mathematics as Eric Weinstein is, you'll probably be hooting and hollering at the screen going "OH SNAP!" and "NO HE DI'NT!" like you're watching an NFL game. String theory... kids love it!

How Mathematicians Are Fighting to Save the American Democracy

Mathematicians are working to combat partisan gerrymandering.

Voters cast their ballots on Election Day November 04, 2008, at Centreville High School in Clifton, Virginia. Credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

The political strife that defines today's America derives its energy from the feeling among many that their voices are not being heard. By and large, Americans do not trust Congress and often vote to send a message, hoping to get their opinions represented. The reality is that the political parties do all they can to stay in power, with achieving fairness and democracy not their primary goals.

Keep reading Show less

Anyone Can Be a Math Person Once They Know the Best Learning Techniques

So you think you're "not a math person"? International Mathematical Olympiad coach Po-Shen Loh strongly disagrees.

Po-Shen Loh is a Hertz Foundation Fellow and Carnegie Mellon mathematics professor who thinks that history is a much harder subject than math. Do you agree? Well, your position on that might change before and after this video. Loh illuminates the invisible ladders within the world of math, and shows that it isn't about memorizing formulas—it's about processing reason and logic. With the support of the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation, Po-Shen Loh pursued a PhD in combinatorics at the Pure Math Department at Princeton University.

Keep reading Show less