Peter Lynch

94 results

Sequencing is important in sports: penalty shoot-outs in football, service order in tennis tie-breaks and choice of colour in chess matches. Photograph:  Clive Rose/Getty Images

It is common practice in science to name important advances after the first discoverer or inventor. However, this process often goes awry. A humorous (...)

Cloud computing: we could be walking in the footsteps of some of the world’s greatest thinkers. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

A walk on the beach, in the hills or along a river bank provides great opportunities for mathematical reflection. How high is the mountain? How many g(...)

Srinivasa Ramanujan, one of the most brilliant mathematicians of the last century, wrote unsolicited letters to three leading mathematicians at Cambridge

Do amateurs ever solve outstanding mathematical problems? Professional mathematicians are aware that almost every new idea they have about a mathemati(...)

This artist’s impression compares the seven planets orbiting the ultra-cool red dwarf star Trappist-1 to the Earth at the same scale.  They are shown to the same scale but not in the correct relative positions. Image: M Kornmesser/ESO

The Pythagoreans believed that the planets generate sounds as they move through the cosmos. The idea of the harmony of the spheres was brought to a hi(...)

“Trees are approximately conical in shape . . . Cones are developable surfaces: they can be flattened out into a plane without being stretched or shrunk.” Photograph: Fabian Bimmer/AP
Consider a spherical Christmas tree

A minor seasonal challenge is how to distribute the fairy lights evenly around the tree, with no large gaps or local clusters. Since the lights are st(...)

One source of randomness is atmospheric noise, the “static” generated by lightning discharges. Photograph: Julian Stratenschulte/EPA

Randomness is a slippery concept, defying precise definition. A simple example of a random series is provided by repeatedly tossing a coin. Assigning (...)

An illustration of Prof James Moriarty in Conan Doyle’s work bears a striking resemblance to a photograph of Prof George Boole (left) and may well have been based on it.

A fascinating parallel between a brilliant mathematician and an arch-villain of crime fiction is drawn in a forthcoming book – New Light on George Boo(...)

Kepler’s idea was not warmly supported by his contemporaries, but harmonic relations are known today to be crucial. Photograph: Getty

Johannes Kepler, German mathematician and astronomer, sought to explain the solar system in terms of divine harmony. His goal was to find a system of (...)

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(...)

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