To hear Cedric Villani tell it, the French are better than everyone else at love, wine -- and math.
A winner of the Fields Medal -- the Nobel Prize equivalent for mathematics -- Villani has in less than a year risen to become a key political figure in France with the ear of the tech-savvy President Emmanuel Macron. On Thursday, Villani takes center-stage when he unveils the country’s Artificial Intelligence strategy, aimed at putting his claim of France’s mathematical superiority to work in the global battle for emerging disruptive technologies.
“There is a deficit of contact between science and politics,” the 44-year-old said in an interview. “It’s part of my job to reinforce that link. It will be France’s role to lead the rest of Europe.”
Villani is an unlikely warrior in Europe’s AI battle, trying to take on China and the U.S. that are leaps ahead. The skinny scientist and lawmaker with his penchant for Gothic suits, giant frilly bow-ties favored in the late 19th century and bespoke spider-shaped brooches often draws more attention for the way he looks than for what he has to say.
Yet Macron is relying on Villani to help his modernization push by being one of the new -- more optimistic -- faces of France, a role the scientist has embraced with gusto. His 150-page AI report comes on top of the work he’s done on crafting a new and better way of teaching math in the country and as he prepares his next project that will involve reviewing France’s pedagogical techniques and reflects on data privacy.
The reason why knuckles pop or crack when stretched is largely a mystery, but a recent study claims it's because of popping fluid bubbles.
When these bubbles collapse or even partially collapse in a joint, the result is a cracking sound, according to a series of mathematical equations in a study published Thursday in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports.
This week's Student of the Week is Tobias H. (thanks to his... uh... friends for the lovely photos).
Tobias was torn about taking Calculus this year. We had several long chats about it and - in the end - he decided NOT to take it. Truly disappointing (to me) as I really enjoyed having him in my class in grade 11.
Here's some rapid fire Tobias thoughts:
I will no longer compliment any of you on your lovely appearances. Sorry. Don't want to hurt your test marks!
The Canadian mathematician Robert Langlands has won the 2018 Abel Prize—one of mathematics’ most-prestigious awards—for discovering surprising and far-ranging connections between algebra, number theory and analysis, the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters announced on 20 March.
At 81, he is still an active member of the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton, New Jersey, where he occupies the office that was once Albert Einstein’s.
The mathematician outlined what became known as the Langlands programme in 1967 and carried out parts of it himself. The programme is a sort of Rosetta stone that allows researchers to translate between different fields of mathematics. That way, a problem that seems unsolvable in one language can become more approachable in the other. And this connection reveals two seemingly different concepts to be two aspects of a deeper truth.
This week's Student of the Week is Hiva R! Here's a picture of her after a hard night of studying for Chemistry. hehehe
I remember last year, I walked into Mr. Habibian's PreCalculus 12 class one day to ask him a question. As he was hunting for something for me (a textbook? the calculators? I don't remember) I was looking out at his class. I knew many of these students, having taught them in grade 8 and/or 10. I was smiling and waving... and then I saw Hiva. I did not know her. Had never even seen her before. And, in that first glance, she seemed VERY intense to me (SORRY HIVA!!!).
So when she arrived to my Calculus class this year and sat RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY DESK I was a little concerned. "Uh-oh. Did she sit right up at the front in order to mutter complaints at me"? Well, it took about ten whole minutes to realize that the only thing intense about Hiva is her deep motivation to do her best. In terms of her personality, she is anything but. On the contrary, she is warm, and polite, and charismatic. And I have come to LOVE her presence in the desk right in front of me.
Hiva often comes to my class on her - and my - spare block (along with Estella). This has allowed me to get to know her fairly well, even though this is the first time I have taught her. She is a fascinating person. She has lived in Germany (and speaks fluently) as well as Iran. She is a concerned big sister. She is well spoken and has strong convictions / opinions. She has an "interesting" English tutor.
One of my favourite things about Hiva is how expressive she is. Some people's tone and face never change, regardless of mood. Not Hiva. When she is intrigued her eyes are wide. When she is being funny she adopts a sly smile. When she is confused her brow furrows and her voice rises. It adds to her charisma and is very endearing.
As I already mentioned, Hiva is a very motivated student. She works hard. She is organized. She has big goals in life. I have witnessed firsthand how she doesn't let disappointment stop her. She recommits and gets back to work. This is called "grit" and studies show that this is the NUMBER ONE trait to be successful in life. I'm predicting great things ahead for Hiva!!
It has been awesome getting to know you this year, Hiva. Thanks for spending so much time in my classroom. You are a fun to person to be around and a special student, indeed. I wish I had gotten to teach you more than one single time but am very thankful for all the good times this year. All the best, Hiva!
The lottery is usually a lousy return--but for a husband and wife team who figured out a math error in games run by two states, it became a wildly profitable investment strategy.
Meet Marge and Jerry Selbee, owners of a "party store" in Evart, Michigan that sold cigarettes, liquor, and lottery tickets. After watching thousands of customers, Jerry figured out how to hack the odds in a certain type of lottery: called Winfall in Michigan, and later Cash WinFall in Massachusetts.
Play a dollar here and there, and you might win occasionally. But play thousands and thousands in particular weeks, when the prize accumulated in a certain way, and Jerry realized you could almost guarantee a profit to the tune of five or six figures.
So that's what the Selbees started doing, to the point that playing the lottery became a full-time job at times. Over the course of nine years, it worked, to the point that their estimated total lottery haul was almost $27 million.
I am your teacher. Obey me.