Saturday, May 15, 2010

New NIST Handbook of Mathematical Functions, Kiss My Math! Speed Learning Math

Forty Six years in the making, the U.S. Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released the Digital Library of Mathematical Functions (DLMF) and its printed companion, the NIST Handbook of Mathematical Functions, edited by Frank W. J. Olver, Daniel W. Lozier, Ronald F. Boisvert, and Charles W. Clark. This is successors to the NIST's most widely cited publication of all time. The full announcement with video may be found here.

"The new 36-chapter tome is designed to be the definitive reference work on applied mathematics' "special functions," the term collectively used to describe the most important and widely employed mathematical functions. Special functions appear whenever natural phenomena are studied, engineering problems are formulated, and computer simulations are performed. They also crop up in statistics, financial models, and economic analysis."

The digital library is available at Its 967-page printed companion, the NIST Handbook of Mathematical Functions; ISBN 9780521192255, is published by Cambridge University Press.

Not directly related, but worth mentioning is there is a new fellowship program at NIST, which is being administered by the University of Maryland and the University of Colorado. Selections begin at the end of May 2010, and will continue at least initially on an ongoing basis.

Having never be particularly found of our broken Schools Systems, I'm always looking on the look out for unusual and more importantly interesting ways, of teaching mathematics in a Home School environment.

One such Math System is the Trachtenberg Speed System of Basic Mathematics.

You can download a copy of the long out-of-print book The Trachtenberg Speed System of Basic Mathematics by Jakow Trachtenberg, A. Cutler (Translator), R. McShane (Translator), Rudolph Mcshane (Translator) from Scribd's.

Trachtenberg's system teaches us how to do complex mathematics in our head quickly, even for those whom are 'Math Challenged' and can't never seem to get a grip on memorizing multiplication tables.

An other interesting take on math comes from actress and author Danica McKellar, best known for her roles on the television series The Wonder Years and The West Wing has published her latest book Kiss My Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who's Boss.

Ms. McKellar's books are specifically aimed at young girls, in the grades seven to nine.

Ms. McKellar's previous book was Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail.

While Ms. McKellar's books are aimed specifically at girls, Real Men and Teenage Boys, know that a good foundation in mathematics is one of the prime ingredients to becoming wealthy. So you boys need to put a plan brown wrapper on the book, then suck it up in study-hall, and you might just end up setting next to that hot girl of your dreams in Math Class...who said math was of no use? :-)

  EMACS function to print Multiplication table from my .emacs file, alas it has been in there for so long I no longer have the name of the person that wrote it originally:

(cond (t
       (defun mult-table()
         "Prints a formatted multiplication table."
         (switch-to-buffer "*MULT*")
         (insert "Multiplication table:\n\n")
         (let ((i 1))
                                        ; Start of table.  Print header.
           (insert "     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10\n")
           (while (< i 11)
             (setq j 1)
             (if (< i 10)
                 (insert (format "\n %d " i))
               (insert (format "\n%d " i))
             (while (< j 11)
               (setq k (* i j))
               (if (< k 10)
                   (insert (format "  %d" k))
                 (insert (format " %d" k))
               (setq j (+ j 1))
             (setq i (+ i 1))

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