Thatsmaths

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Vital subject: weusemaths.ie shows the links  between the curriculum, courses and careers. Photograph: iStock/Getty

In the midst of Maths Week Ireland many students may be asking, “What use is mathematics and what purpose is served by studying it?” Mathematicians o(...)

The 200th anniversary of the birth of William Rowan Hamilton, in 2005:  then minister for state Noel Treacey with TDs Joe Costello  and the late Tony Gregory and members of the Cabra Community Centre Project  on their way to Broombridge for the unveiling of a plaque.

The story of William Rowan Hamilton’s discovery of new four-dimensional numbers called quaternions is familiar. The solution of a problem that had bot(...)

Tom Lehrer, mathematician, singer, songwriter and satirist, was born in New York 90 years ago. He was active in public performance for about 25 years (...)

You have probably noticed the little rectangles in the camera of your smartphone; this is face detection in action.

As you pass through an airport, you are photographed several times by security systems. Face recognition systems can identify you by comparing your di(...)

A spiral has appeared over the past decade or so on the beach between Booterstown station and the Merrion Gates, southeast of Dublin. A sandbank (pictured) has gradually built up, driven by the action of the sea waves, and has assumed a form close to a logarithmic spiral.

We all know what a spiral looks like. Or do we? Ask your friends to describe one and they will probably trace out the form of a spiral staircase. But (...)

Kelvin’s tide machine. Belfast-born William Thomson (later Lord Kelvin) developed the science by constructing the harmonic theory of tides.

All who set a sail, cast a hook or take a dip have a keen interest in the water level, and the regular ebb and flow of the tides. At most places the t(...)

Piet Hein: “The Universe may / Be as great as they say / But it wouldn’t be missed / If it didn’t exist”

This article is about nothing: nothing at all, as encapsulated in the number zero and the empty set. It took humanity millennia to move beyond the cou(...)

Measurement of the Lough Foyle baseline in 1828-29.

On a glorious sunny June day we reached the summit of Céidín, south of the Glen of Imall, to find a triangulation station or trig pillar. These concre(...)

The Parthenon: the observer sees the eight columns of the façade as a perfectly regular array, but this is achieved by deliberately introducing subtle distortions.

The Parthenon is a masterpiece of symmetry and proportion. This temple to the Goddess Athena was built with pure white marble and was erected without (...)

The Joyce tower in Sandycove, Co Dublin, from which Stephen Dedalus began his odyssey in ‘Ulysses’.

As Bloomsday approaches, there is merit in reflecting on James Joyce’s relationship with mathematics. He entered UCD in September 1898. His examinatio(...)

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