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Thursday
Feb092012

Motion, Position, Definite Integrals, and Bears

Photo by Mackenzie and JohnUnless you live in Chicago, the new Problem of the Week may be unsettling because it is rife with bears. Not the cute kind of bears that get stuck in a rabbit's tree house because they may or may not be morbidly obese. ("Oh, bother.") No. These are the "I'd rather eat you, bones and all, than pretend that I am a cloud to hustle some bees out of their honey" kind of bears. The dangerous kind.

Are you thinking, "This must be an optimization problem, where you are asked to calculate the bear minimum"? If you did think that, please know that I am, as you read this sentence, smiling approvingly and giving you polite golf applause for your clever pun. However, this problem is all about definite integrals, so there is no time for joking around.

Steel yourself for the battle of your life! Attack this problem with your bear hands! But please, before you do, I would like the polite golf applause reciprocated.

Friday
Feb032012

Hungry for more math?

Don't fret! The spring semester is starting, so new Problems of the Week will resume February 10!

Friday
Jan132012

There's No "U" in Substitution

Photo by Charleston's TheDigitelAre you pro-derivatives? If so, well, our politics may clash in the new Problem of the Week, as it is firmly anti-derivative. Only one tool is allowed to solve this pair of problems--the power rule for integration. No u-substitution allowed!

Thursday
Dec152011

Polar Derivatives

The last Problem of the Week for 2011 is now posted, and it's feeling all festive. Take a journey deep into the cold, barren wastelands of the Northern ice cap and search among the iceburgs to find a certain toymaker's workshop. (In case you need help calculating the derivative of a polar equation.) 

With a nod of his head and a wink of his eye, he will promptly ask you to stop trespassing, and for Christmas this year? A restraining order from Santa. 

No, this is not how you planned things at all...

 

Saturday
Dec032011

Cubism, Sadness, and Super Powers

Photo by fdecomite

Have you ever loved something so deeply, so meaningfully, so completely, so profoundly that it would really irk you if you dropped that thing into a bubbling vat of acid? I have, and so that you may learn from my tragedy, I will share a horrific tale from my past. 

Once, on a whim, I spent an entire summer trying to carve a perfect cube from a piece of driftwood on the beach. Don't ask why; this is what all math teachers do during summer break, and if teachers tell you otherwise, they are lying. Look at their hands carefully—they are probably whittling as they lie to you!

Click here to read more and to attempt the Problem of the Week.