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What Hot Dogs Can Teach Us About Number Theory
The Chinese remainder theorem is an ancient and powerful extension of the simple math of least common multiples.
The Simple Math Behind the Mighty Roots of Unity
Solutions to the simplest polynomial equations — called “roots of unity” — have an elegant structure that mathematicians still use to study some of math’s greatest open questions.
How to Find Rational Points Like Your Job Depends on It
Using high school algebra and geometry, and knowing just one rational point on a circle or elliptic curve, we can locate infinitely many others.
How to Solve Equations That Are Stubborn as a Goat
Math teachers have stymied students for hundreds of years by sticking goats in strangely shaped fields. Learn why one grazing goat problem has stumped mathematicians for more than a century.
The Mysterious Math of Perfection
Enter the world of perfect numbers and explore the mystery mathematicians have spent thousands of years trying to solve.
The Crooked Geometry of Round Trips
Imagine if we lived on a cube-shaped Earth. How would you find the shortest path around the world?
Some Math Problems Seem Impossible. That Can Be a Good Thing.
Struggling with math problems that can’t be solved helps us better understand the ones we can.
The Simple Math Problem We Still Can’t Solve
Despite recent progress on the notorious Collatz conjecture, we still don’t know whether a number can escape its infinite loop.
The Math of Social Distancing Is a Lesson in Geometry
How to safely reopen offices, schools and other public spaces while keeping people six feet apart comes down to a question mathematicians have been studying for centuries.