Author Archives: The Mathematician

Q: How do I estimate the probability that God exists?

Mathematician: Before jumping into this question, it is important to realize that probabilities are not objective, observer independent quantities. We can think of the claim that a particular outcome will happen with a probability of 0.30 as meaning (loosely speaking) … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Mathematician, Philosophical, Probability, Skepticism | 29 Comments

Q: How do you calculate 6/2(1+2) or 48/2(9+3)? What’s the deal with this orders of operation business?

Mathematician: Now that the Physicist and I have answered questions like these ones at least 9 times via email, I figure we should get this horrible topic out of the way once and for all with a short post. The … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Mathematician, Conventions, Math | 172 Comments

Video: Getting Computers to Learn

An introduction to machine learning (a form of artificial intelligence concerned with getting computers to learn from data), and a discussion of some of the mathematics underlying machine learning algorithms. Part 1 of 4: Part 2 of 4: Part 3 … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Mathematician, Computer Science, Machine Learning & A.I., Videos | 4 Comments

Q: How do I find the love of my life? (a Mathematician’s perspective)

Mathematician: The Physicist and I were once asked “how do I find the love of my life?”. Never ones to shy away from applying math to love (or anything else), the Physicist gave his take on this question (noting the … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Mathematician, Biology, Equations, Philosophical, Probability | 21 Comments

Q: What does 0^0 (zero raised to the zeroth power) equal? Why do mathematicians and high school teachers disagree?

Clever student:   I know! =   = = = . Now we just plug in x=0, and we see that zero to the zero is one! Cleverer student:   No, you’re wrong! You’re not allowed to divide by zero, … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Mathematician, Math, Philosophical | 1,029 Comments

Q: What would you experience if you were going the speed of light?

The original question was: If I’m moving at the speed of light towards you and I throw a tennis ball at you (at, say, 5 m/s), what do you observe? Will I hit you first, the tennis ball, or both … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Mathematician, Physics, Relativity | 23 Comments