Debunking a Long-Lasting Star Trek Theory

Mathematician James Grime has debunked a very popular Star Trek theory by using fairly simple math. The widely held belief that “redshirts” (those who work in engineering or security) die more often than any other character isn’t true, Grime says. While technically 10 gold-shirted, eight blue, and 25 red-shirted die in the series, that calculation ignores the fact that there are more redshirts than anybody …

This Galaxy Puzzle is Infinite, Like the Universe

Thanks to some mathematical brains, this Infinite Galaxy Puzzle has no end. Or rather, it has endless possibilities and solutions since it can be assembled in any direction and in any shape—meaning it can be put together over and over again with all different outcomes. Based on the Klein Bottle, “an impossible 3D shape where the inside and outside are mathematically indistinguishable,” this 133-piece, laser-cut …

Scientists Discover a New Mathematical Tile

One of math’s more curious mysteries lies in the world of pentagons and patterns. While an infinite number of possibilities exist, only 14 convex pentagons are known to be able to “tile the plane”—meaning that when placed together, they fit together perfectly. Now, after 30 years since the last breakthrough, a team comprised of Jennifer McLoud-Mann, Casey Mann and David Von Derau of the University …

Knitting Custom Algorithms on Scarves

Fabienne Serriere, a skilled hardware hacker and knitter who lives in Seattle, has programmed her KnitYak knitting machine to create various patterns via algorithms. She mastered this skill after six months of experimenting, and can now create beautiful, elaborate designs with her 30-year old knitting machine. She uploads the knitting patterns to her machine and writes each processing script that gives her various pattern results, …

Dates for Math Lovers

If you ever find yourself making wishes when the clock hits 11:11 or 12:34, you may want to take notice of 13 December 2014 (12/13/14), as it’s the last sequential calendar date of the 21st century. After that, we’ll have to wait another 89 years until we can revel in the nonsensical wonder of the next sequential occurrence on 2 January 2103. Luckily, Smithsonian Magazine …