Figuring Square Roots Without a Calculator or Without Newton’s Method

People knew how to calculate square roots thousands of years before they had any knowledge of calculus. So how did they perform the feat? I saw this on Dr. Peyam's Youtube channel of mathematics, where he points out that Heron's method (the Babylonoian method) is essentially an algorithm disguised as Newton's method. He probably considered... Continue Reading →

Ideas & Tricks Behind the Jargon of Organic Chemistry

To someone not familiar with baseball, the following part of a score card seems like a meaningless mishmash of lines, numbers and letters. In reality, each numbered column is one of 9 chapters of a game called an inning. The horizontal rows represent the numbers and names of the players of the two teams playing... Continue Reading →

An Isolated Plant Family

There is a family within the angiosperms (flowering plants) that, from an evolutionary viewpoint, is relatively isolated. The only family that's somewhat closely related to it is that of the morning glory, Convolvulacea. The family in question has about 1700 species, which is not much compared to the diversity within the pea, orchid and sunflower... Continue Reading →

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