In the footsteps of Archimedes: celebrating Pi day

Nowadays, thanks to modern day computers, we have instant access to the approximation of π (the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter) to any degree of accuracy. But back in antiquity, getting a good approximation of π was elusive and difficult. Over 2000 ago, the Greek mathematician and scientist Archimedes derived an accurate approximation of π using…
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Bagels, pretzels… cubical frames?

This year’s Nobel Prize in physics brought into the limelight the subject of topology, which studies the property of figures that remain unchanged under stretching and twisting, as long as there is no tearing. As a member of the Nobel Prize committee explained in this article, a topologist is concerned with distinguishing a Swedish pretzel from a bagel not due to their taste differences, but due to the fact that a pretzel has two holes and a bagel has one. To a topologist, the pretzel is a surface of genus 2, and a bagel is a surface of genus 1, where the genus number simply corresponds to a number of holes….
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