Math Forum Internet News

Volume 2, Number 29

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 21 July 1997                                Vol. 2, No. 29

               THE MATH FORUM INTERNET NEWS

 Numbers & Sequences | Fermi Questions | African Diaspora


                  NUMBERS AND SEQUENCES


   INVERSE SYMBOLIC CALCULATOR (ISC) - SIMON PLOUFFE

           http://www.cecm.sfu.ca/projects/ISC/

  ON-LINE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF INTEGER SEQUENCES - NEIL SLOANE

http://www.research.att.com/~njas/sequences/eisonline.html

"Can you guess the rules for generating sequences?... 
 This one was in the New York Times the other day:
 2, 3, 3, 5, 10, 13, 39, 43, 172, 177, ... "

Plouffe and Sloane are two researchers who have collaborated 
on a text about famous and useful sequences of integers. See 
Brian Hayes' article in American Scientist (Jan.-Feb.1996) 
about their work together:

http://www.sigmaxi.org/amsci/issues/comsci96/compsci96-01.html

Plouffe's website features famous constants such as
pi and e, with records of longest computations and a table
of many of the best known constants. The Inverse Symbolic 
Calculator will try to match any number that you enter, or
the beginning of one, with constants in its database. A 
sophisticated version of the lookup can even compare your 
number to constants transformed by a limited set of simple 
functions. The site hosts over 400 tables containing over 
50 million constants.

Neil Sloane also has a lookup function on his site. Type in
a sequence of numbers and it will try to match it to a 
well-known sequence in its database. Sloane also offers 
many references to related source materials, and provides
number puzzles with solutions.

http://www.research.att.com/~njas/sequences/index.html#Puzzle


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              FERMI QUESTIONS - SHEILA TALAMO

http://mathforum.org/workshops/sum96/interdisc/sheila1.html

Fermi questions emphasize estimation, numerical reasoning,
communicating in mathematics, and questioning skills. They 
require estimation of physical quantities to find an answer 
to an order of magnitude (typically a power of ten) arrived
at by making reasonable assumptions. 

Students often believe that 'word problems' have one exact 
answer and that the answer is derived in a unique manner. 
Fermi questions encourage multiple approaches, emphasize 
process rather than 'the answer', and promote non-traditional 
problem-solving strategies.

The Fermi Questions Library on the Web features:

  - Classic Fermi questions with annotated solutions
  - A list of Fermi questions to use with students
  - Fermi questions with a Louisiana twist
  - Fermi activities for the K-12 classroom


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  MATHEMATICIANS OF THE AFRICAN DIASPORA - SCOTT WILLIAMS

        http://www.math.buffalo.edu/mad/mad0.html

Prof. Scott W. Williams of the Mathematics Department, SUNY
Buffalo, has created a series of Web pages designed "to 
exhibit the accomplishments of the peoples of Africa and 
the African Diaspora within the Mathematical Sciences." 
The contents include: 

  - The Ancients
  - Modern Historical Significance
  - Black Research Mathematicians
  - Profiles of Black Mathematicians
  - Special Articles
  - Related Links
  - Sources and References


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