Tag Archives: math


Fibonacci Day

11/23 is widely celebrated as Fibonacci Day.

The Fibonacci sequence is the sequence of integers 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21,…  or 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, …  It is a sequence of numbers that starts with 0 (or 1) and  each number is the sum of the previous two. The sequence first appeared in Liber Abaci (Book of Calculation), a book written in 1202 by Leonardo of Pisa, more popularly known as Fibonacci.

Fibonacci was born Leonardo Bonacci around 1170 A.D. in Tuscany, Italy. Fi bonacci literally means “son of Bonacci”. Fibonacci was the son of a very successful merchant/trader from Pisa and traveled often with his father to Algeria where it is said that he first showed his interest in mathematics and numbers. Until the end of the 1800’s several of his works were published under the names of Leonardo Bonacci di Pisa, Leonardo of Pisa, or Leonardo Pisano.




Mole Day (6:02 a.m. – 6:02 p.m.)

Celebrated annually on October 23 from 6:02 a.m. to 6:02 p.m., Mole Day commemorates Avogadro’s Number (6.02 x 1023), which is a basic measuring unit in chemistry. Mole Day was created as a way to foster interest in chemistry.

Celebrate in unusual ways!  Make a mole-related dessert for your family & friends, or host a chemistry event (or creative chemistry food) event at your school, neighborhood, or a local shelter.  Find unique & fun opportunities to generate youth interest in STEM!

Or just enjoy mole puns & jokes.


National Mole Day Foundation

“Chemistry is more fun than you think (boom).”  Watch the video from Numberphile:



Happy Tau Day = 2(Happy Pi Day)

Happy Tau Day 2016!  While the buzz about the Tau-Pi battle seems to have lost momentum, there are still Tau-Pi arguments going on around the globe today.

Our friend Pi, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter and homophone to pie, is considered by some mathematicians to be “wrong”.  They say it should be replaced by Tau, which uses the ratio of the circumference to the radius instead.  But 6.28 doesn’t sound delicious at all.

One argument the tauphiles miss is that the homophonic value of Pi sets a great stage for creating events, jokes, and activities that generate interest in math.  When kids are interested in math, they will be more inclined to explore and enter STEM disciplines.  As a country, we need to do a better job of inspiring our young people’s positive engagement in STEM activities.  We need any edge that helps us demonstrate that math and science can be fun so that children in our communities – especially minorities and girls – will be empowered to pursue, and interested in, STEM fields.

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Pi Day Event 2016

A Pew Research Center report from 2012 shows that while there has been a slight trend of improvement of our youth’s science and math comprehension, we are still at a global disadvantage.  We invest misplaced energy and resources to fund faith-biased programs, put bibles and other Christian paraphernalia in our public schools, and argue irrelevantly about evolution; if we could re-invest that  zeal in the academic development of our K-12 individuals, we would see that slight trend of improvement become a more substantial demonstration of our youth’s positive intellectual potential.  (Also see, National Science Board’s 2016 Science and Engineering Indicators  )

So for those advocating for Tau, we get it and we are grateful for people in this world thinking about and promoting ways to advance mathematics.  But don’t get so caught up in the math that you forget the impact Pi’s fun & puns hook can have on youth who might otherwise have gone through school with the disadvantage of believing that math is boring.  (Oh, and also, Pi is just better.)





PSA: Fun With Palindromes

If you thought Sheldon’s Fun With Flags was a hoot, you’re going to love this. Vexillology got nuthin on logology.

Palindrome Week+

Those who write dates in the format m-dd-yy have a special week+ to celebrate from June 10 to June 19, 2016.  For ten consecutive days, the dates are numeric palindromes: 61016, 61116, etc., with the series breaking on the 20th (62016). Every century has 9 years with 10 Palindrome Days in a row. So, it is Aibohphobia awareness week, in a way.  June 10th is also a palindrome in d-mm-yyyy format: 6102016. There will be 12 palindrome pays in the 21st century in the mm-dd-yyyy format. The first was October 2, 2001 (10022001) and the last will be 09022090.

What’s in a Palindrome?

A palindrome is a sequence that is the same backwards as forwards. Symmetry’s implication of balance is pleasing to humans.  The word palindrome comes from the Greek palíndromos, meaning running back again (palín = AGAIN + drom–, drameîn = RUN).

Logology is the manipulation of meanings, arrangements, sounds, spellings, and other aspects of words and letters.

“Logology, defined as ‘the science of words’ by The Oxford English Dictionary, consists of two overlapping 5-letter palindromes, LOGOL and GOLOG, followed by a 1-letter palindrome, Y. It is also, by auspicious accident, what is known as a second-order reduplication . . .. As for balance, the careful observer of words discovers that the word alternates not merely vowels and consonants, but letters from the first and last halves of the alphabet. Furthermore, if we replace each letter with the number indicating its position in the alphabet (A=1, B=2, etc.), and add the numbers, the sum turns out to be 108. Dividing 108 by 8 (the number of letters in the word) yields an average of precisely 13.5, showing us that the letters constituting logology are balanced around the exact midpoint of the alphabet, halfway between M and N. Few, indeed, are the words that achieve such an absolute balance!

“Add to all this the fact that logology avoids using any of the 5 most common English letters (E, T, A, I, and S), and you realize that it is, very fittingly, the finest English word every formed.”
(Dmitri A. Borgmann, Language on Vacation: An Olio of Orthographical Oddities. Scribner’s, 1965)

Lexical palindromes are words and phrases reflecting the bilateral symmetry of art.  In the sciences of nature and biology, symmetry is approximate and creates patterns; in math, symmetry is exact. (I swear it is like Heraclitus and Parmenides are duking it out everywhere.) In language and art, there is balancing and playful banter of the two. The word-play of palindromes can generate complex expressions,  philosophical undercurrents, or just downright silliness & fun.  I don’t know about your world, but the one i experience could benefit from more intentional silliness.

Semordnilaps (the word palindromes in reverse) are words that spell other words when spelled backwards (for example, star/rats, stop/pots, drawer/reward).

A palindrome’s self-referential nature is a yummy candy mobius strip for the mind.  Would two palindromes strung together create a Klienendrome?  That’s a topic for a philosophical discussion over a bottle if ever there was one.

Speaking of imagery, mirror palindromes are words that appear the same in their reflection (visual reversal on an axis.  So, for example, bid would be a mirror palindrome; Bid would simply be a palindrome.

Some Palindromic Names:

  • Lon Nol was a was Prime Minister of Cambodia
  • Nisio Isin was a Japanese novelist
  • Robert Trebor was an actor
  • Stanley Yelnats is a character of a movie Holes

There are simple palindromes like mom, bob, wow, and poop, and leveling-up to increasingly complex palindromes using creative license to adjust for spaces and capital letters (and meaning). This becomes a challenge, puzzle, and can be employed as a literary technique called constrained writing.  This means employing some boundary (as the Haiku and other measures in poetry), focusing the artist on solution-driven creativity.

Entering the lonely house with my wife
I saw him for the first time
Peering furtively from behind a bush …

Blackness that moved,
A shape amid the shadows,
A momentary glimpse of gleaming eyes
Revealed in the ragged moon …

A closer look (he seemed to turn) might have
Revealed in the ragged moon
A momentary glimpse of gleaming eyes
A shape amid the shadows,
Blackness that moved.

Peering furtively from behind a bush,
I saw him, for the first time
Entering the lonely house with my wife.

(A Line-Unit Palindrome Poem, “Doppelgänger” by  James A. Lindon)

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the longest single word that is a mirror image of itself is saippuakivikauppias (19 letters), which is Finnish for a dealer in lye (caustic soda).  They also note that some baptismal fonts in Greece and Turkey bear the circular 25-letter inscription NIYON ANOMHMATA MH MONAN OYIN, meaning wash (my) sins, not only (my) face. This appears at St Marys Church, Nottingham, at St Pauls, Woldingham, Surrey and at other churches.

It’s Haydn in music, but you can find it.

In music, the palindromesque canon cancrizans, or “crab canon”, technique was originally a musical term for a kind of canon where one line is reversed in time from the other, but had evolved to mean an arrangement of two musical lines that are complementary and backward, similar to a palindrome. Note:  Phrase “Crab canon” came form the misconception that crabs walk backwards. The implications of spacial inversion or temporal reversal can convey philosophical nuances within the music.  While mirror elements exist within larger works, there are also full compositions in the form.

The art of composing music that could be played backwards and forwards with focus on a tonal center is extremely difficult, adding a challenging puzzle to the work of musical composition. This technique is criticized for being selfish and cocky-show-offy on the part of the composer because it is anti-climactic and lacks a musical apex / tension release of engaging scores. Franz Joseph Hayden, one of my favorite composers because of his wonderful sense of humor and how he weaves it into his music, has a piece, Symphony no. 47 in G (1772),  titled The Palindrome because of its perfectly palindromic minuet (Menuet al Roverso).

View Bach’s Crab Canon on a Mobius strip: “The enigmatic Canon 1 à 2 from J. S. Bachs Musical Offering (1747), The manuscript depicts a single musical sequence that is to be played front to back and back to front. Video by Jos Leys (http://www.josleys.com) and Xantox ( http://strangepaths.com/en/ )”


FYI: Multiplying ones always gives you palindromic numbers.

In math, a palindrome is a number written in the form a1, a2, … a2, a1. A palindromic prime is a number that is simultaneously both a prime and a palindrome.  (or in diversity language, a number that experiences the intersectionality of being a number that is both prime and palindrome).  All single digits are palindromes, unless your philosophical perspective on the matter is that the single digit numbers (and correspondingly, single character words) don’t count as palindromes.  We score “9” again, as there are nine two-digit palindrome numbers, 90 with three digits, and 90 with four digits.  More fun with Palindrome Numbers on this Mathematical artistry site, click here for their Palindromes page.

My palindromic response to the Pi vs.Tau Smackdown argument: Dammit, i’m mad.  I prefer Pi.





STE{a}M & Stuff Book Drive

Book Drive through May 25, 2016

Each year, the Heart of Florida United Way hosts a book drive to support summer reading loss initiatives and Day of Action literacy events in our local community.

And each year, BE. members contribute fun math & science themed books to the United Way’s book drive efforts.  Share fun stories like Flatland, Fantasia Mathematica, the Cartoon Guide to Physics, and In Search of Schrodinger’s Cat with at-risk youth in our community.  What STEM fiction inspired you in your youth?

Visit our book drive page for participation information, statistics on summer reading loss,  links to STEM book lists, Diverse Book resources, and more.

Drop off books at any BE. Orlando event during the month of May or contact us – we’ll be glad to schedule a pick up at your central Florida place of business.



Book Drive Home Page (updates will be posted here)



Square Root Day

Yuca try, but I yam sure you can’t beet it! 

There are nine square root days that occur each century; when the day of the month and the month are the square root of the last two digits of the year.

Ron Gordon, a Redwood City, California high school teacher, created the first Square Root Day for September 9, 1981 (9/9/81). Mr. Gordon says “It’s a good day to…….get things squared away, try to fit a square peg into a round hole, go square dancing, tie a square knot, travel on Route 66, drink rootbeer from a square glass, root for the underdog, eat a square meal, or watch the pigs root around.”

The squa2502-1re root days of each century are: 1/1/01; 2/2/04; 3/3/09; 4/4/16; 5/5/25; 6/6/36;  7/7/49; 8/8/64; 9/9/81

For those interested in math & science, please support our STEM & Stuff book drive helping at-risk youth in our community combat summer reading loss.  Click here for more on that…

Turnip the beet & let’s party!



The Square Root of Three
By David Feinberg

I fear that I will always be
A lonely number like root three

The three is all that’s good and right,
Why must my three keep out of sight
Beneath the vicious square root sign,
I wish instead I were a nine

For nine could thwart this evil trick,
with just some quick arithmetic

I know I’ll never see the sun, as 1.7321
Such is my reality, a sad irrationality

When hark! What is this I see,
Another square root of a three

Has quietly come waltzing by,
Together now we multiply
To form a number we prefer,
Rejoicing as an integer

We break free from our mortal bonds
With the wave of magic wands

Our square root signs become unglued
Your love for me has been renewed

Happy Tau Day = 2(Happy Pi Day)

Updated 6/28/15


Update 2016 – view here: Happy Tau Day = 2(Happy Pi Day)

Tau or Pi?  We don’t know.  We DO know that we at BE. have always boisterously celebrated Pi Day, and with the resurgence of attention to the Tau vs. Pi smackdown, we think it appropriate to celebrate over friendly debate and 2(pi)nts.

We had an amazing lunch learning from our friend Swami, a local teacher and math guru.


Whatever your math perspective, we twice toast Pi with you, and hope that you did 6.28 amazing things today!