Math of the Brown Sharpie

Apr 1, 2009 by

Before the world-wide-web, I doubt that math cartoons could seriously have been a popular or widely read endeavor.  Today, geeky cartoons have their own fan followings curtesy of the long tail.  Probably you’ve heard of xkcd and Indexed.  If you haven’t seen Brown Sharpie, you should check it out.  Here’s a couple of my favorites (since many of you are on Spring Break).

Euler’s Formula on Spring Break

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New Math: A Formula for Everything

Mar 30, 2009 by

I think that I will have to start (or end?) every class session next fall with one of these fabulous formulas from New Math.


Some of them are obvious (once you see them) and some of them just have me laughing out loud because of the simplistic way Craig Damrauer can depict such a complex subject. A few of my favorites:




Inspired by these great formulas, I think we should have a contest to see who can come up with the best “new math formula” for math words like Calculus, Algebra, Statistics, etc.

Take your best stab at your favorite math word, and then link here.

Here’s my contribution, and then I’m back to work on my dissertation (where all my creative energy is flowing these days).


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The Math Purity Test (and more)

Mar 20, 2009 by

Every once in a while, you get the feeling that you’ve seen everything there is to see on the Internet in your subject area … and then … you discover a new, untapped pocket of great stuff!

Today’s dissertation break brings you a few quirky pages put up Erich Friedman, from Stetson University.  He’s got a collection of math humor and other math resources, some of which I’ve never seen before:

The Math Purity Test (I think this has got to be a first day of class assignment for any Real Analysis course or a last day of class assignment for a Calc II course)

Periodic Table of Mathematicians (click on an element and get a bio of the nearest spelling matched mathematician)


Mathematical Horoscope (here’s mine)


A Math Romance (I’m quoting this one here)

They integrated from the very point of origin. Her curves were continuous, and even though he was odd, he was a real number. The day their lines first intersected, they became an ordered pair. From then on it was a continuous function. They were both in their prime, so in next to no time they were horizontal and parallel. She was awed by the magnitude of his perpendicular line, and he was amazed by her conical projections. “Bisect my angle!” she postulated each time she reached her local maximum. He taught her the chain rule as she implicitly defined the amplitude of his simple harmonic motion. They underwent multiple rotations of their axes, until at last they reached the vertex, the critical point, their finite limit. After that they slept like logs. Later she found him taking a right-handed limit, that was a problem, because it was an improper form. He meanwhile had realized that she was irrational, not to mention square. She approached her ex, so they diverged.

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