Susan Johnsey - online math courses and math tutoring

Friday, April 29, 2011

Math and Tornadoes

Scientists still do not understand the formations,  movements and growth of tornadoes.  Tornadoes  strike sometimes before a tornado warning can even be issued.  

Many warnings (sirens and radio-TV broadcasts) were issued and heeded by Alabama residents this week and lives were saved.  Please pray for the citizens of my home state. At least 200 people lost their lives.  Thousands have lost friends, family, pets, homes, businesses, and jobs. 

Our state is blessed to have brilliant and compassionate weather forecasters and broadcasters, as well as, brave reporters. Many reporters were in the field chasing and sometimes running from the tornadoes in order to help the weather broadcasters better warn the people of our state.

So what about the math?    MORE is needed.    Numerical modeling has provided us with some insights as to how a tornado occurs.  Video observations and numerical modeling has helped us  discover and better understand the formations,  movements and growth of tornadoes. The numerical modeling allows researchers to create computer simulations which can validate their ideas, as well as, uncover new information about tornadoes.   

Can tornadoes be slowed down or detoured? Are you ready to study more math so you can help in future years?   Think about it, and please pray for guidance.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Quaternions: Are they from outer space, depths of the sea or are they surreal?

Would you believe that they are NUMBERS, that is 4-dimensional numbers used to describe dynamics of motion in 3-D.  Although created in 1800's they are today used for virtual reality games, robotics and geometry of space-time.  Quaternions are implemented in flight software for the NASA Space Shuttles.  If you have heard of complex numbers, a+bi where bi is the imaginary part, then think of quaternions as complex triple imaginary numbers.   a+bi+cj+dk.

 Irishman William Hamilton devoted his life to studying and teaching about his invention, quaternions. He founded a school of "quaternionists" and popularized them in several books.  He was from Dublin and belong to the Irish Royal Academy.  

In the 1900's the MATHEMATICS of quaternions was replaced with VECTOR analysis.  Who would have thought that 100 years later they would be revived for NASA and  for virtual reality games of the 21st century.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Super Egg in Geometry!

Super Egg - 
The upright egg was created in 1965 by a Dane, Piet Hein. 
 The 3-D  shape is a superellipse defined by the graph of the relation:


The ellipse is then revolved about the z-axis.    In most super eggs that you see a/b = 4/3 !  Or have you not seen one yet!.

Hein's super eggs were popular as toys in the 1960's.  The world's largest super egg can be seen outside Kelvin Hall in Glascow, Scotland, UK.  The super egg with a/b= 6/5 was used as a round-about road in Stockholm, Sweden.  Traffic flowed more fluidly with the super egg design.

You can purchase a set of super eggs on Amazon!   They were designed by Hein as salt and pepper shakers.    They will wobble a bit but do not fall over!

I gleaned this from a book you may want to consider reading at your public library.
The Math Book : from Pythagoras to the 57th dimension, 250 milestones in the history of mathematics by  Clifford A. Pickover.


Need more information about the SUPER ELLIPSE?

Learn to create your own here:
Math World at Wolfram

iPad 2 and its Classroom possibilities

Do you enjoy learning the newest technology?  Have you tried out the new iPad 2?

Houghton Mifflin this month, April 2011, introduced new apps for their Algebra 1 curriculum.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a Boston company known for such educational products as textbooks, said it is launching HMH Fuse: Algebra 1, the first core K-12 education solution developed exclusively for the iPad. 

"The portability of a complete Algebra 1 course on an iPad enables students to learn in the classroom, on the bus, or at home — anytime, anywhere," the company said.

These are current prices, updated each day:

With iPad, the classroom is always at your fingertips.

At the iTunes App Store, there are thousands of apps available to download.
Apple’s iTunes U is home to more than 350,000 free lectures, videos, readings, and podcasts.  Universities such as Yale, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Oxford, Cambridge, MIT, Beijing Open University and The University of Tokyo, as well as broadcasters such as PBS, offer free content on iTunes U.