Math in the Media: October 2016

The internet had lots of great and terrible uses of math and mathematical visualizations in October 2016! This is our opportunity to applaud the winners and be confused by the blunders. Here are a few of my favorites:

1. The Gold Star goes too…

Without a doubt, this month’s Gold Star goes to the white house panel of “Math and Movies” that took place on October 28th. I have so much to say about this, that I wrote an entire article. Please check it out! My favorite quote in the whole panel was US Chief Data Scientist, DJ Patel speaking about math:

“It’s about the art. It’s about the humanity of making creativity come alive. It’s not the stodginess of just a set of formulas and equations.” -DJ Patel

Check out my whole article here.

2. Odd Use of “Mathiness”

Usually this is the “terrible use of mathiness” section, but the article I want to feature here isn’t particularly terrible math. I mean, maybe it wasn’t even terrible at all… But it certainly was odd. Very odd.  Chandra Kant Raju is an Indian professor who knows a fair bit about the history of mathematics. His work seems to revolve around crediting the correct person and how the societal pressures of the West stifled and altered the history of mathematics.

I found his current article published to The Wire. The Wire had republished it from The Conversation. And the weirdest part of the story is that The Conversation withdrew the article soon after it was published, citing editing standards. The Wire decided to continue to offer the version they published, but the back and forth of publication, withdraw, republication makes the article an oddity already.

In the actual article C.K. Raju presents arguments behind the bold title: To Decolonise Maths, Stand up to Its False History and Bad Philosophy. The article seems to call for a complete re-write of the history of mathematics, which is rather audacious. And C.K. Raju mostly sites his own publications as evidence. Which, I guess is what you have to do when no one else agrees with you? …But, it’s also something you do when you are really old and famous for a particular topic. So I don’t know what to make of that.

At first, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to feature it in Math in the Media because I wasn’t sure I wanted to provide it more press. But it’s was such a strange experience to read. I couldn’t not write about either. So, if you want to read something strange, then I recommend this article by C.K. Raju.

3. Math Graphic of the Month

My favorite graphic of October is actually the collection of infographics about treats for pets on Facebook by American Veterinary Medical Association. It’s adorable and very meaningful! The infographic does a great job of presenting a relationship that their viewers can relate to. It’s amazing!avma_healthy_weight_infographic

Did you have a favorite experience with math on the internet in October? Share it in the comments below! Until next time, have a mathy November!

About Samantha from SocialMath

Applied Mathematician and writer of
This entry was posted in Communicating Math, Internet Math and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Math in the Media: October 2016

  1. Hey Samantha, thanks for this article, enjoyed it.
    I read the Wire article – wish I understood what he was talking about a little better, but I certainly understood any frustration he may have felt reading that maths was created by ‘dead white males.’

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