Famous Black Mathematicians

In celebration of black history month, I thought it interesting to point out the large number of black mathematicians who have made significant contributions to the field.  Even as an undergraduate, I recall being introduced to William Claytor’s work.  If you are interested in pursuing this topic futher (especially if you are a teacher of mathematics), here are some links from my bookmarks.






Having the Right Friends

From Science News,

“Girls in high school take as many math courses as boys, influenced by close friends and peers who are doing well in school. More than boys, girls look to their close friends when they make important decisions, such as whether to take math and what math classes to take, confirming how significant peers are during adolescence.”

PI for President!

If you are dissatisfied with the goon currently in office as well as the crop of goons campaigning to replace him, then it’s time to support the real candidate for change – infinite change, that is. Yes, we’re talking about the number ∏ . MathematicianPictures.com has launched a campaign to support PI for president. More like a campaign to draw attention to a pretty cool site for math geeks, but PI could definitely do better than the incumbent and no worse than the potential replacements 🙂

One does wonder, though, how the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter will adapt to an ‘oval’ office.

Cubic Bezier Y at X

One of the requests for the Singularity Bezier curves is the ability to return a y-value, given an x-value. This is often used for interpolation in easing. Many 3D packages, for example, have the ability to specify a functional relationship between two parameters using a cubic Bezier curve as a visual design tool. The problem is not trivial in the general sense as cubic Beziers do not generally map x->y one-to-one. The curve might loop around on itself (self-intersecting) or bend in a manner so that there may be more than one y-value for a single x-coordinate.

This request is on the development list for the parametric curve library, but I also want to point out that Flash CS3 users have access to the fl.motion package. There is a BezierSegment class (representing a single cubic Bezier curve with four control points) in that package. The BezierSegment class contains a getYForX() method.