Every language is also a special way of looking at the world and interpreting experience. Concealed in the structure of language are a whole set of unconscious assumptions about the world and the life in it.
Clyde Kluckhohn

March 28, 2018, 5:48 p.m.

2018 Reading List

By Maurice Ticas

I was very excited to receive my copy of the first issue from this year's 91st Volume edition of the Mathematics Magazine published by Mathematical Association America. From their editorial policy, it's stated that it's not a research journal, but rather a publication that "... aims to provide lively and appealing mathematical exposition". I was introduced to the magazine during my undergraduate studies at SFSU in the mathematics department. I always was able to find an article to be very accessible. More importantly, the magazine's lucid articles encouraged me to appreciate mathematics more. I'll share some remarks of the articles from my current copy that I found to be fun to read. The article "Distinguishing the Plane from the Punctured Plane Without Homotopy" by Frederic Mynard was a fantastic read. It gave a good explanation of what is studied in topology and how that branch of study distinguishes surfaces of the same dimension by using homotopy and invariants under homeomorphisms.

There was an article that raised the subject of integer partitions. From reading "Of Puzzles and Partitions: Introducing Partiti" by Andres Eduardo, I was reminded that we mathematicians love puzzles. We tend to find ourselves in the frustrated state of tackling problems, to then find ourselves in giddy excitement for their solutions. Partiti is a fun puzzle created from the theory of integer partitions that I'd recommend learning about. The creator of the Partiti puzzle has a nack for creating mathematical puzzles worth trying. He was featured in a New York Times article titled Bar Code: A New Infatuation Poised for a Puzzle Craze.

Another article in this copy introduced the reader to a good problem in functional equations. This kind of material can be found in many math competitions across the country. I remember taking the Putnam exam and seeing for the first time these kind of math problems. They are very fun and challenging to solve. The Brilliant web portal provides a good introduction to these kind of problems.

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