Category Archives: Mathematics

Infinity is weird: what’s bigger than big?

The second in what will (probably) be a three-part series of posts on the size of the infinite, as described in mathematical set theory.  The first post can be read here. When I was young, there was a series of … Continue reading

Posted in Mathematics | 12 Comments

Infinity is weird: how big is infinity?

How big is infinity?  Most people, though familiar with the general concept of infinity, would probably answer with a simple, question-dodging response of “infinite.”  To be fair, the infinite is a really difficult concept to wrap one’s head around, and … Continue reading

Posted in Mathematics | 23 Comments

Getting more with less in imaging: compressive sensing

Update: I felt my original explanations were a little lacking in places, so I’ve added to the post… In recent years, the public has seen remarkable advances in digital imaging technology. In the past few months, for instance, Lytro has … Continue reading

Posted in Mathematics, Optics | 27 Comments

In which I engage in mathematical silliness…

There’s been a silly trigonometric pun going around on Google+ the past week involving Bill Cosby.  Having seen it enough times, I’ve decided to fight back with my own: I would like to apologize in advance; you may now return … Continue reading

Posted in Mathematics, Silliness | 6 Comments

Review of “Mathematical Methods” at Science After Sunclipse!

Just a quick bit of news: Blake Stacey has reviewed my textbook, Mathematical Methods for Optical Physics and Engineering, over at his blog Science After Sunclipse! Although he rightly busts my chops over a number of typos in the text … Continue reading

Posted in Mathematics, Personal | 2 Comments

Infinity is weird… even in infinity mirrors!

Even very simple optics can reveal very interesting and surprising phenomena, if one looks carefully enough!  I was recently looking into the optics of a so-called “infinity mirror”, which in its simplest incarnation is simply two parallel mirrors on opposite … Continue reading

Posted in Mathematics, Optics | 51 Comments

Jennifer Ouellette’s The Calculus Diaries

Calculus plays a rather paradoxical role in modern society: much of our modern technology and science depends upon it, but amongst the general public it is feared, even despised, and treated almost as magic. This is really a problem, as … Continue reading

Posted in Mathematics, Physics | 3 Comments

Infinite series are weird — redux!

A bit over a year ago, I wrote a blog post about the mathematics of infinite series, and how weird such series can be, considering in particular the behavior of “conditionally convergent series”.  A recent post at Built on Facts … Continue reading

Posted in ... the Hell?, Mathematics | 14 Comments

The Time Axis by Henry Kuttner

The more I read of Henry Kuttner, the more ashamed I am that I didn’t read all of his works long ago!  Henry Kuttner (1915-1958) was a versatile writer of pretty much every genre of weird fiction imaginable: science fiction, … Continue reading

Posted in Adventure fiction, Mathematics, Weird fiction | 7 Comments

Abramowitz and Stegun online!

Abramowitz and Stegun is a classic reference book which contains all sorts of information about special functions and their integrals.  If you’ve ever needed to reference something on the road and don’t have your copy with you, you will be … Continue reading

Posted in Mathematics | 7 Comments